Compostable plastic is growing in its popularity, due to its zero impact on the environment and its ability to replace many traditional plastic items, however is it safe?
Compostable plastic is completely safe when it comes to the environment, humans and wildlife due to its ability to decompose completely into natural components when disposed of correctly.
What Is Compostable Plastic Made From?
Compostable is classed as a bioplastic due to its makeup from completely natural components. This makes it perfect for composting in a home composter, industrial composter or worm farm as it will break down completely and deliver nutrient-rich soil. It’s non-toxic however, if disposed of in landfill, won’t break down rapidly at all.
In order to take full advantage of compostable plastic, you must dispose of correctly. This will then take the decomposing process from the decades or centuries that it takes traditional plastic to disappear, to weeks or months.
Compostable plastic is also called a ‘next-generation’ plastic. The materials used to manufacture compostable plastics vary, but include renewable materials such as corn, soy protein, potato, tapioca starches, lactic acid and cellulose. These materials mean that compostable plastics are non-toxic and can decompose quickly when composted.
You can read more about compostable plastics here.
What Are The Benefits Of Compostable Plastic?
Obviously the biggest benefit of compostable plastic is its ability to completely break down into natural components, rapidly speeding up the decomposition process to as little as 90 days in some cases.
Some benefits of switching to compostable options include:
- Reduces contributions to landfill.
- Does not leach or leave behind toxic chemicals.
- Less greenhouse gas emissions during manufacturing.
- Lower water and energy consumption during manufacturing.
- Safe for humans, animals, wildlife and the environment.
- Provide great fertilizer when composted correctly.
Read more about composting in this article.
Where Do We Use Compostable Plastics?
Compostable plastics are not all as strong as traditional plastics yet, however, there are several items you can use around the home if you’re looking to make a switch! These are easily available from your supermarket, specialty store or online shop:
– Food packaging such as containers, bags and takeaway cups.
– Food service items such as cups, cutlery, plates and napkins.
– Medical device packaging.
– Garbage bags.
– Carry or grocery bags.
– Sticky tape or packing tape.
– Toiletry packaging.
Some compostable plastics – PLA (polylactic acid) and CPLA (crystallized polylactic acid) – can be utilized in medical environments for uses such as medical implants, drug delivery systems and orthopedic devices as they are non-toxic.
Find out more about PLA and CPLA here.
Is It Safe To Use Compostable Plastic?
Yes! Compostable plastic is completely safe for your family, wildlife and the environment. It’s also safe for food storage.Using compostable storage bags, trash bags, dog poop bags, food and drink containers or serving items are great ways for people to become more environmentally friendly.
With the makeup of compostable plastic being completely organic materials, this makes them completely non-toxic and safe across the board as well as great for the environment when disposed of correctly.
It should be noted that compostable plastic is not always as strong as traditional plastic so can tear or break with too much liquid or weight inside.
When Is It Not Safe To Use Compostable Plastic?
With the use of bioplastics becoming increasingly popular, however, along with all the positives for choosing bioplastics, there are some drawbacks to be aware of and times it’s not ‘safe’ or ideal to use compostable plastic.
- Compostable plastic won’t decompose in landfill and contribute to the waste issue. Unless biodegradable, they must be placed into a composter or worm farm.
- Compostable plastic can contaminate recycling streams as people aren’t aware of how to dispose of them correctly.
- Some confusion around compostable plastics can result in littering or people disposing of compostable items such as dog poop bags in the environment.
- Compostable items can break or tear with sharp objects, too much weight or liquid.
- Compostable items aren’t reusable due to their lack of strength.
Find out more about how to best dispose of bioplastics and the composting process here.
Do We Need To Use Compostable Plastic?
You don’t ‘need’ to do anything. However, if you’re looking to reduce your environmental footprint or even create your own rich fertilizer at home. Then compostable plastic could be for you.
Compostable plastic helps you make a better choice for the environment, your family and wildlife as well as produce your own fertilizer.
What Is Composting?
Composting is becoming really popular both at home and in businesses and cities/towns. Composting is a process that breaks down renewable or organic materials back into their natural state. The matter is broken down through the presence of worms, insects, bacteria and fungi. The idea is that the items or materials that go into compost are renewable and can break down into completely natural matter.
Compostable plastics and food scraps are able to be composted, which makes it simple for people interested in composting, to do this at home. The choices are indoor and outdoor, which then offer their own options for each.
There are also city programs in most areas that allow you to drop off or leave out compostable plastics for composting which leads to industrial landscaping projects that require good-quality fertilizer. Industrial composting is useful as it’s tightly controlled in terms of water, temperature, microbes and oxygen and can handle much larger quantities.
What Is Home Composting?
Home composting is a possibility for anyone who is willing to create and maintain a worm farm or home composter. There are rules to composting and it’s important to understand these rules, which include what can go into a composter, how much quantity can be in a composter or worm farm and how to maintain it.
This includes understanding controls and other materials, water, oxygen, temperature and any insects, starter bacteria or worms you require. Compost can then be turned into nutrient-rich fertilizer for use around your home.
You can buy many different home composters to get started.
Can Anyone Start Home Composting?
Anyone can start their own home composter or worm farm if they’re willing to put in the time and effort! The key is to understand the ‘how’ and ‘what’ that you need to do this. This can be broken down into several steps:
- Decide which home composting system you would like – indoor, outdoor or even worm farm.
- Learn about what materials you need to start your home composter or worm farm.
- Understand what can go into your worm farm or home composter.
- Learn how to maintain your worm farm or home composter i.e. temperature, quantity, steps involved, water/dryness, oxygen.
Compost is really just decomposed organic material. It can be anything from kitchen scraps, plants, twigs, egg shells, coffee grounds, worms or leaves. Compost is used in the garden or soil to improve the quality of the soil and make it a better environment for planting and growing.
Learn more about the types of composting in this blog.
How To Start Composting At Home?
When choosing to compost at home, you need to do your research and understand which process you will use and how much time it will take.
- Complete some initial research to understand the option that works best for you and where to purchase what you need
- Be willing to make continuous effort in collating your waste and placing into the compost
- Make sure you turn or tumble the compost when required
- You will need patience!
If you’re willing to learn and put in the effort, you will find the ongoing process of composting rather simple.
Benefits Of A Kitchen Compost
We can list the main benefits of composting as reducing your environmental impact by returning natural materials back to the earth into compounds such as fertilizer/soil. The manufacturing processes of such products as compostable plastic are environmentally friendly, the end result is safe for the environment and you are taking rubbish out of landfill.
Some benefits of using compostable plastic include:
- Compostable materials can break down in as little as 90 days or less, and at the most, six months.
- Compostable items completely break down into its natural environment when disposed of correctly – back to natural components.
- The breakdown of these plastics can provide compost and fertilizer for your garden or house plants.
- You will keep compostable materials out of landfill.
- You can compost easily from your own kitchen!
If you want to reduce your contributions to landfill, reduce your waste and make your own fertilizer, home composting may be for you! You should do your research and be willing to put in the effort and time.
Compostable plastic is a great alternative to traditional plastic and is completely safe for the environment, wildlife and people. It will break down completely into natural matter when disposed of correctly.
Compostable plastic is growing in its popularity, due to its zero impact on the environment and its ability to replace many traditional plastic items, but is still not available to replace all plastic items. Compostable is classed as a bioplastic due to its makeup from completely natural components. This makes it perfect for composting in a home composter, industrial composter or worm farm as it will break down completely and deliver nutrient-rich soil.
If you don’t dispose of it correctly, you will contribute to the landfill issue and the plastic won’t break down completely.