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What Does Soil Have to Do With Disposable Tableware?

We have all heard about being eco-friendly and using compostable products . Should we go compostable?  And what does soil have to do with using disposable tableware?

Any disposable tableware that can be composted will reduce waste, lower greenhouse gas emissions and create job. But at the end of the day, it’s really about one thing:  our soil. And herein lies our future too. Countless organisms depend on healthy soil, including us, We can’t grow our food without fertile soil.

However, during composting, plastic disposable tableware doesn’t break down and with disastrous effects. Learn more about how even tiny plastics in compost can cause big problems at

But don’t go away. Here’s a quick guide on how to prevent plastic pollution.

Being ignorant is not an excuse

No doubt there is insufficient research on the effects of plastic pollution on our soil. But we have seen enough to know it’s not good by looking at the detrimental effects of plastic even tiny particles, on our oceans and the fact that it is very hard to find effective solutions.

We need to act now to prevent plastic pollution and not wait until our soil is invaded by plastic fragments - soil that will be useless for our survival.

What can we do? – Here’s a quick guide:

  1. Keep plastic and plastic-coated disposables out of our compost bins and programs. ( Note: Most coffee cups, take-out boxes, milk or juice cartons and paper plates have a layer of plastic and shouldn’t be composted unless certified compostable)
  2. Buy and compost only disposables tableware that is certified compostable.Any product with this label can be composted and is safe for our soil. The BPI label represents a scientific testing process that ensures these products will safely break down in a commercial composting facility.
  3. Choose products that has PLA . PLA stands for poly-lactic acid and means the plastic is made from corn and not from petroleum. However products with PLA are very expensive and items such as disposable tableware, might not find their way into our shopping basket because of the cost.

Element products which are biodegrable and compostable disposable tableware  are a good alternative.  They are made from Origo which comprises 70% corn and 30% polypropylene (petrol plastic PP). Origo is a starch based bio-plastic made primarily from corn and yam.

Compared to PLA products, Element Products are:

  • up to 5 times cheaper
  • the overall structure of the Element product is strong, non brittle, naturally slightly tinted (ivory coloration).
  • no doubt the PP portion will still take a longer period of time to biodegrade, but it is better for 30% of a disposable product to be plastic than a 100% – an overall reduction in our dependency on petroleum.

Element products have the BPI certification.   They are 100% biodegradable and 70% compostable. Given the correct conditions (temperature, humidity and the presence of microbes), Element products will biodegrade after 90 days.  The byproduct of this non-toxic humus waste (dark rich soil) can be used as fertilizers.

As consumer we have a powerful voice and should choose only certified compostable disposable products.


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