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Home Composting and What is Compostable?

There is a lot of talk about compostable packaging and food supplies. Manufacturers often talk about how their packaging composts within 12 weeks. Or how the coffee cup you are using is compostable. What they don’t tell you is their claims are based on commercial composting on an industrial scale. If you think of composting do you picture a big industrial facility or a heap in your back garden? So what is home composting and what is compostable?

Home Composting Guide

Home Composting

It is simple to do. It can be cheap – it depends on if you build your own compost heap using old wood pallets or if you buy a super expensive compost bin. Where I live in Cardiff the council actually sell you compost bins for £7. It’s basically a big bin with a hatch door at the bottom to make it easier to get your finished compost out.

Home composting and industrial composting work on different timescales. You are never going to get good quality home compost in 12 weeks. The temperature of the heap is unlikely to get high enough for rapid breakdown; especially in the winter months. Does that make it any less compostable? Well no. Cardboard is compostable – but everyone says biodegradable. Sugarcane tableware is compostable but I have to use biodegradable because it doesn’t happen within an industrial composting timeframe. There is a nice study on domestic composting rates of cardboard, sugarcane plates, plant based compost liner and compostable bioplastic fork. The cardboard and sugarcane plate had degraded in 80% of the test compost heap within 6 months and in 95% within 12 months.

That’s why I’m passionate about bagasse tableware. Six months after you use it you can feed your flowerbeds, plant vegetables and have a good source of home made compost. Can you do that with a plastic plate? Even paper plates often have a thin plastic coating so they are usable, making them unsuitable for composting.

BioPlastics Aren’t Always Home Compostable

The diagram below is a good guide for compostable markings. So your compostable disposable coffee cup may appear to be a good way of avoiding waste but in reality you will end up throwing it in your black bag waste anyway. Just look at the temperature needed for industrial composting and a highly controlled environment – can you picture that in your back garden?

Is it a science? I reckon most definitely; to get a good idea of how to balance a good compost heap read here. Most DIY stores sell compost heap starter if you are at the beginning of your journey. I have a rabbit and his waste has proved to be a very good compost heap starting material! Although my compost heap is now a bit too much rabbit waste and not enough greenery after the winter. I need to mow the lawn!

My Sugarcane Compostable Party Supplies

I have been asked many times why I don’t sell cups. It is for the simple reason I haven’t found on that is home compostable yet. They all have bioplastic in them and need industrial composting. When I started Eco Infinity I felt very passionate that all party supplies sold should be home compostable. That party supplies should not have to enter mainstream waste collection.

I am sticking to that. Even though I could have a much bigger business with many more sales by now it will be abandoning my whole ethos for Eco Infinity. I hope you found this blog post useful. If you did a share on social media is always appreciated.

Happy composting everyone!

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5 Things I Thought About Sugarcane Tableware

Sugarcane Tableware… Sell it and Love it

When the sugarcane tableware first arrived I thought there had been a mistake. Maybe the company had sent me the wrong boxes. They were a lot more rigid than I expected. But then I didn’t know what a plate or bowl would look or feel like. Made from non-woody sugarcane fibres that are the by-product from the juice extraction process. These five points form my thoughts around my first experiences with compostable plates and bowls.

  • They are so sturdy. Even after 30 minutes spent covered in salad dressing they were rigid enough to not flex much. You could carry them around one handed easily, even when they are piled high with food.
  • They aren’t very colourful. Yes, I agree they look boring but you can jazz them up with bright coloured accessories.
  • If you are entertaining children they are excellent to draw on with felt tip. My daughter used an 8oz bowl to make a hat.
  • They didn’t blow around as much as paper plates do in the breeze. I put this down to the fact they are slightly heavier.
  • It seems totally bizarre to dump them on your compost heap afterwards but it made for fast clearing up.

I have used them several times while entertaining. I’m a convert. There will be no more paper plates in this house. I’m even considering using them for certain craft, anything that doesn’t involve glitter or glue lol. Not sure my compost heap would like glitter being added.

In fact the sugarcane tableware provides quite a talking point about plastic pollution. This is one small way we can help reduce the plastic footprint we leave behind on the earth. One of my favourite quotes explains why I am making such an effort. Gaylord Nelson has got it spot on.

Tableware Gaylord Nelson Quote

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Eco Infinity and a Small Change to Pass on Plastic

Eco Infinity

I don’t believe we can actually survive without plastic anymore. Too much of modern life revolves around it. I mean it was a wonderful discovery; lightweight, strong, durable and colourful – what isn’t there to love? I don’t think we could have imagined how much plastic we would make, and how long it would last. Eco Infinity is my website to help make small changes in saying let’s pass on plastic.

Eco Friendly Quote Eco Infinity Wales

Eco Friendly Birthday Parties

I have three children. Children love birthday parties but if you look at a child’s birthday party what do you see? Fun, an overload of sugar and undoubtedly a few tantrums, but look closer. You often can’t recycle paper plates, plastic cutlery, plastic party bags and party favours made from plastic. I wanted to make a more eco friendly birthday party.

The aim is to use as little plastic and produce as little landfill as possible. Small changes mean big changes over your lifetime. A class invite to a party? 30 children. We can all picture the party table remnants being swept into a bin liner. And if we’re honest how much of the plastic party bag contents ever get used?

Creating Eco Friendly Parties

An Eco Infinity Party

Compostable table ware and party supplies. All of which gets thrown on the compost heap with the left over food. Paper party bags that are easily recycled, paper banners that are pretty enough to want to re-use. All of a sudden your bin liner is much more empty, and that is just one party. Multiply that by 30 children and that is a big change and you have said you like to pass on plastic.

I’m very sorry though I can’t do anything about the noise levels, tantrums or sugar overload! Good luck with those……