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More and more companies are stepping up to the plate and switching to biodegradable plastic (also known as bioplastic, compostable plastic, PLA plastic, or plant-based plastic). This type of plastic is different from traditional plastic because it’s derived from plants.
It’s a great way to cut back on fossil fuels, carbon emissions, and landfill waste. However, it’s important to know how to compost your biodegradable plastic in order to utilize it to its full potential.
Here are 4 easy steps on how to compost your biodegradable plastics effectively:
THINK BEFORE YOU CHUCK
We can’t forget the first R – Reuse. Ask yourself: Is this item actually at the end of its life or can you find a new use for it? Maybe your bioplastic shipping mailer can be reused to ship out a package to a friend. Or maybe your compostable plastic phone case can be donated to a friend who has the same phone model. If it really isn’t of use – then follow along to step 2.
READ THE LABEL OR PRODUCT WEBSITE FOR ANY DISPOSAL SUGGESTIONS
Some products come with instructions on the best way to compost the biodegradable plastic, i.e. some products actually have a seed in the packaging you can plant, while others must go to industrial compost facilities.
DETERMINE IF YOUR LOCAL INDUSTRIAL COMPOST CENTRE ACCEPTS BIODEGRADABLE PLASTICS
Not every industrial compost company (private or city funded) is set up to break down bioplastic. Check with your city’s waste website to see if you can place bioplastics into your compost. For example: There are 4 facilities in British Columbia that accept bioplastic.
IF YOU ANSWERED YES: Put it in the Green Bin
Industrial composting heats the bioplastic to a high enough temperature that allows microbes to break it down in a timely manner. This is the quickest way to compost biodegradable plastic.
IF YOU ANSWERED NO: Place it in your backyard compost
• Putting biodegradable plastic into a backyard composting system takes longer to break down – up to a few years. While this seems like a long time – remember that traditional plastics take 400 years to breakdown.
• Make sure the bioplastic is put into a compostable environment in order for it to break down effectively. You can’t just throw it under some dirt and expect it to disappear 😉
• It is suggested to put the bioplastic into a compost pile that doesn’t get used to fertilize a food garden.
• Don’t have a backyard compost? Ask a friend and see if they will compost for you
…Knowing that this item won’t sit on the earth for 400 years decomposing into microplastics.
Biodegradable plastics aren’t perfect but they’re a step in the right direction:
• If used properly, bioplastics can effectively be diverted from landfill, incineration, or ocean
• They are made with plants vs. fossil fuel
• They create an overall lower carbon footprint during production
• They have the potential to use surplus plant material that might otherwise go to waste
• If they end up in landfill, they take less time to breakdown than traditional plastic
Remember STEP 1: Always try to reuse and repurpose before sending an item to compost, recycling, or landfill. In fact, we will be giving one of our readers a surplus Organicore phone case we have from a recent photoshoot. Check back on our Instagram account for details coming soon.
BONUS FOR OUR READERS: Get 15% off an Organicore 100% compostable phone case with our code: WELLNESS15
This post was sponsored by the Incipio Organicore phone case. Organicore is made up of 100% compostable plant-based materials that reduces landfill waste by naturally re-entering the environment from where it started.