Friday, April 2, 2010

Are "Compostable Utensils" Really Compostable?

I put that question to google, and of course Beth at Fake Plastic Fish was the #1 return. But there are others... World whom manufacters biodegradeable utensils, came up with the same conclusion as Beth. In fact they write in their website:

"In the past we manufactured non-heat resistant utensils
made from non-GMO PLA, and heat resistant utensils made from 80% non-GMO corn starch and 20% other fillers. Through recent testing, we discovered that the corn starch resin used in the production of our heat resistant utensils (a resin certified by BPI and ASTM standards) is not fully
compostable. Therefore, we have discontinued the use of the corn starch resin and have begun using an alternative resin that will meet the standards of compostability. The new resin is a mixture of 70% non-GMO PLA and 30% talc. They are also heat resistant upto 200 degrees F, and the resin is
under testing for certification under ASTM-6400 standards.
Our current non-heat resistant utensils do not have any
issues with compostability. We have also taken the opportunity to redesign our cutlery to offer a more
aesthetically pleasing option.
We will continue to offer our current utensils at a discounted
price, until they are no longer in inventory.These utensils will
take 180 days to compost in a commercial composting facility.
Home composting is not recommended as they do require a higher heat to break down, which may not occur in most
home composting systems."

I for one can say my home composter does not get hot enough to break these down. I do have and use commercial composting, but after reading some articles about it on the internet, I have come to the decision that it is better to bring my own, use bamboo chopsticks or my fingers.

Soap dish made from recycled chopsticks

Bamboo chopsticks? Well they have been around for a long time, come from a renewable resource, biodegrade- plus they can be reused over and over and for other things. I have one of those pasta pots that has a colander that slides right into the pot. But the downside of it is... Nothing to lock the colander up in place when draining the pasta (or potatoes) so my answer is a simple bamboo chopstick. When I raise the colander to drain, I simply stick a chopstick through a hole in the colander and it stays in position. Another thing I use chopsticks for is two of them together to beat eggs for omelets (I learned that watching Julia Child as a kid), Somefolks make soapdishes out of them, If you’re handy with the arts, or just like to build things, then the chopstick can be very useful to you. Chopsticks can be the medium of baskets, jewelry, frames, mobiles, or abstract centerpieces. There is no limit to the imaginative creations that can be made from them. Anyways... my point is, I am adding this as my compostable only for the one small change challenge... no "compostable" utensils as I am not sure of their compostability.


Chile said...

Chopsticks are also handy for marking plants. Just use a sharpie to write up the side and poke it into the ground next to your newly planted seeds or starts.

Condo Blues said...

You can put bamboo chopsticks in teh dishwasher and they won't warp like wooden spoons put in the dishwasher. Guess how I know?

Rosa said...

did you ever see the article about the guy who made a canoe out of used disposable chopsticks?