Q: What are biodegradable and compostable products?
Biodegradable and compostable products are made from organic, natural materials like corn, reed grass and bagasse (sugar cane). These products
come from annually renewable resources and are sustainably manufactured, non-toxic while in use and decompose back into the soil.
Q: What’s wrong with plastic and Styrofoam?
Plastic and Styrofoam are non-biodegradable, petroleum derived, stay in the environment for hundreds to thousands of years and leach toxic substances
into the groundwater. Approximately 40 billion plastic utensils are used every year in the USA alone, together with billions of Styrofoam and
plastic cups, plates etc. Biodegradable products can, therefore, reduce landfill mass by as much as 30%.
Q: What’s wrong with paper plates?
Most paper disposable products are made from virgin wood fiber, which depletes our natural forests and the eco-services that forests provide. In comparison,
bagasse is a byproduct of sugar cane production, a readily renewable resource and widely grown all over the world.
Q: What’s the difference between Corn/PLA products and Bagasse products?
PLA products are made from corn starch, while bagasse products are made from residual sugar cane fiber (a waste product of sugar production). PLA products work better with cold materials, while bagasse products work with both hot and cold materials.
Q: What is the shelf life of your products?
PLA and bagasse products have an estimated shelf life of two years. Products should be stored in a cool dry area to achieve maximum life expectancy. PLA products should not be exposed to heat levels over 110 degrees F.
Q: How long will these products take to break down?
Biocompostable products do not decompose on their own. They must enter the composting process. This entails putting them into the soil with food, yard waste and other organic materials. Once the biocompostable product enters the compost system, it will decompose over a few months. Decomposition time is dependent on two factors. One factor is the way in which biodegradable products are disposed of. Biodegradables are best disposed of in a commercial composting system, as commercial compost piles contain large amounts of moisture, are kept at a high heat and are aerated frequently. In commercial composting systems bioplastics are expected to degrade within 180 days. Within a home composting system, where high levels of heat are not able to be reached and where aeration depends on how often the owner is willing to turn their pile, bioplastics can take more than 180 days to degrade. Another factor is product thickness. The thicker a product is the longer it will take to degrade. Many commercial facilities
grind or cut products such as biodegradable cutlery in smaller pieces to decrease degradation time.
Q: Which products are the most sustainable?
Bagasse products, which are made from sugar cane fiber leftover from juice extraction, are very sustainable products. It uses a waste product that would otherwise be landfilled or incinerated.
Q: Isn’t using corn for disposable products wasting a valuable food source?
No, because it is made from No. 2 yellow dent field corn, the most abundant and cheapest source of fermentable sugar in the US. We use very little of available US corn crop.
Q: Have your items been tested for compostablility by reliable sources?
All PLA (bioplastic) products we carry are certified by ASTM and BPI for compostability.
material they are made from. Plastics are made from petroleum based chemicals & additives that are known pollutants and toxins while PLA is derived from corn-based resins (a non toxic and annually renewable resource). Secondly is the way in which PLA and traditional plastics break down. Traditional plastics can be recycled or thrown in a landfill to slowly breakdown over hundreds of years. PLA products can’t be recycled but will biodegrade 60% of their mass within 180 days in a composting system.
Q: Is there a symbol for “bioplastics”?
Currently symbols #1-#6 are reserved for plastic products – bio-plastics and all other products, which can be considered as plastic, fall under the #7 or #0 symbol as “Other.”
Q: Is PLA more or less expensive than regular plastic?
That depends on the type and brand of the product, as well as the size of the order.
Q: How are the PLA products (cutlery, bags, cups etc.) manufactured?
They are made by processes which are similar to how plastic products are made – injection molding, extrusion or thermal formed.
Q: How long will the corn-based cutlery take to decompose or compost?
The PLA (corn derived) cutlery and any other products made from PLA (cups, biobags etc.) take longer to biodegrade and perhaps are best composted in a commercial facility. However, they can be composted at home and may take 180 days or more to biodegrade.
Q: What if I throw my PLA products into the trash?
Our products require adequate amounts of heat, moisture and air to biodegrade. Unfortunately, conventional landfills do not fulfill these necessary conditions. If PLA products are thrown into the trash, it will be collected and dumped into the landfill. Communities across the country are rapidly depleting available landfill space, so any addition to landfill volume simply adds to this problem. More importantly, landfills are sealed which means little biodegradation occurs below the surface, so what is thrown away remains preserved for decades to come.
Q: How do PLA products handle hot and cold foods?
The PLA (corn derived) cutlery is heat resistant to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Using the 120 degrees F cutlery with hotter foods will make it lose its structure and shape. PLA is not microwavable, but freezer safe. The PLA products are especially great for cold products.
Questions about Bagasse
Q: What is Bagasse?
Bagasse is sugar cane fiber pulp, left after the juice has been extracted from the sugar cane stalk. Bagasse is normally seen as a waste
product and incinerated, thus creating air pollution. Making tableware out of residual sugar cane fiber actually decreases air pollution and adds value to the material.
Q: How is Bagasse tableware manufactured?
Sugar cane fiber bagasse tableware is made by pressing the pulp with intense pressure and high temperatures to a mold form. It is
sterilized and sanitized and conforms to U.S. Food & Drug Administration (U.S. FDA) guidelines.
Q: What are the benefits of using bagasse?
Bagasse is 100% compostable and it biodegrades in 30-60 days. Through the use of this product, you are contributing to a sustainable planet. Bagasse is a tree-free renewable resource and provides a superior alternative to petroleum derived products. It will biodegrade and will not stay in the environment for hundreds of years.
Q: How long does Bagasse take to biodegrade?
The rate of decomposition depends on the composting conditions – the temperature, turnover rate, moisture etc. Just like other compostable material, products will biodegrade much faster, if they are broken into smaller pieces.
Bagasse (sugarcane fiber) tableware will biodegrade at the same rate as garden waste in a home composting system, which depending
on the home composting system can be approximately between 60 and 90 days. They will degrade faster in a commercial composting facility.
Q: How well do the bagasse products handle heat?
The Bagasse (sugarcane fiber) tableware will handle hot food and beverages up to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the tableware
does “sweat” with hot foods and some condensation will form at the bottom of the tableware with hot foods. Bagasse is both microwave and freezer safe.
Questions about Paper
Q: What is PCW Paper?
Post-consumer waste (PCW) paper is made from paper that has been used by the end consumer, collected from various recycling
Q: What’s the difference between regular paper and PCW paper?
“Regular” paper is probably made of virgin trees, while PCW paper is made from paper that has been used by the end consumer. According to www.papercalculator.org, 100% PCW paper uses 42% less energy, releases 37% less carbon dioxide and pollutes 46% less water than 100% Virgin paper.