A Sequel to ‘Impossible Compostable’!

A report in the guardian: The plastics problem: are natural alternatives doing more harm than good?  sounds like a sequel to last week's  blog on ‘The Impossible Compostable’

Yes the race is on to develop more sustainable types of plastics from natural materials and replace oil-based plastics. And with technological breakthroughs and growing investments in such ventures, what was considered economically not viable not so long ago is fast becoming a commercial success.

But even as the variety of natural materials used from corn  to shrimps, shells and algae increases and the production of such bioplastics grow, the back end of the process is no nearer to being any clearer or organised, thus still encouraging greenwashing and adding to consumer confusion!

Bioplastics can be the magic pill for our plastic woes, but only if they are disposed of appropriately. But with a confusing range of labels such as ‘compostable’, ‘biodegradable’ and ‘bio-based’, most of who are not supported by proper credentials, consumers are still not sure of how to dispose them.

Disposal Woes  

Disposal is a logistic challenge especially on the high street where there are more chances of used products being thrown in the wrong bin.

  • Many bio-based products are not biodegradable;
  • Any claim to being biodegradable must be supported by independent credentials so that consumers do not assume that all so called biodegradable products can just be binned in the street bin to biodegrade naturally.
  • According to Jo Ruxton, co-founder of campaign group Plastic Oceans, bioplastics can do real damage when they end up in the wrong place.
  • Most compostable plastics cannot simply be chucked into a compost bin. They work best in closed environment the where collection is simpler and ends up in the right facility. If compostable plastics do not end up in the composting facility, then there is nothing green about them. In fact they end up in landfills and produce methane emissions.
  • To confuse matters further, many compostable plastics are made to look like real plastics and end up in the recycling bin where they cause problems for the plastic recycling process.
  • Even if the claims of being compostable, biodegradable and recyclable are true, given the complexities and realities, there is more likelihood of a biodegradable packaging ending in a landfill and producing a harmless non-toxic humus by-product, then a compostable packaging being disposed off in the right way!

A Simple Credible Solution - 100% Biodegradable Element Tableware

100% biodegradable foodware such as Element tableware can be disposed off as eco-friendly food waste to biodegrade under the right environment within 120 days. Element biodegradability meets industry certification including OK Biobased by Vincotte and ASTM D6400 and D6866.

It need NOT be:

  • Recycled and hence eliminating the chance of landing in the wrong recycling bin and facility. [Anyway, most recyclable foodware becomes contaminated once it has food scrapping];
  • Sent to special composting facilities which are not common and or land in the wrong type of composting facility which is unable to separate the plastic  fragments from the other materials components hence contaminating  the environment;