Q: Why should you support compostable products even if they are not being composted?
A: We believe that composting needs to be a regular option for packaging disposal, though in some situations we know that composting is not viable. Plant-based, compostable products are one step towards a larger imperative to improve disposable products and their life cycles. Compostable packaging creates new options for both production and disposal over the long term and we think that creating choices will help push the industry to improve packaging sustainability overall.
Q: What does biodegradability mean? How is it different from compostability ?
A: Biodegradability is the ability for a substance to be broken down by microorganisms. By some definitions, biodegradability has a time-frame (ie: less than 30 days), but the definition is also used without a time frame (eventually). Compostability is the capacity of a substance to biodegrade in a managed process to produce useful compost within 180 days.
Q: What plants can be made into bio-plastic compostable products?
A: Almost any high starch plants can be used to make bio-plastics. Corn is currently the most popular, but potato, rice and even sugar beet are options.
Q: How long do compostable products take to degrade?
A: Depending on the material our products will degrade in 50 - 180 days in a commercial composter. In a backyard compost, products tend to take longer to degrade because of varying compost conditions and varying degrees of maintenance.
Q: What is the price difference between compostable products and traditional ones?
A: Right now compostable products are more expensive. Economy of scale (producing more, & improved technology) is expected to improve cost over the long term.
Q: How much do compostable bio-plastics impact the world's food supply?
A: Plant based bio-plastics currently use the high energy food part of the plant, though there is research on-going to find and develop non-food sources. While that research continues, it is important to note that of all the non-food grown corn in the world today - over 90% is used for bio-energy, less than 2% is used for packaging. To improve food supply we would get the best result with alternative energy sources. (Solar, Hydro, Wind)