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Composting Plastic

biodegradable plasticThis is a blog about compost and gardening but today I'm going to talk about the Olympics. No, they didn't add a synchronized composting event to the games (although that idea has some potential) but they did use biodegradable plastic for food packaging at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

The other day I did a post about how I thought that this company selling compostable cutlery was pretty cool. It's a step in the right direction when it comes to keeping things out of the landfill. So when I did some further research I found out that more than 75% of the 660 tons of garbage that was created at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney Australia was either recycled or composted. And biodegradable plastic used in the food packaging played a big part in that 75% number.

There's still some issues with this new products like the fact that it's more expensive than regular plastic. Also these products won't compost in your average home compost bin and will take 18 months in a commercial compost environment to break down. So that means that if you can't compost it at home, this stuff is going to wind up in the landfill. Sadly, I don't think anything composts in the landfill.

I recently read on Tiny Choices that biodegradable garbage bags are at the opposite end of the spectrum and are breaking down too soon. What good is a garbage bag that falls apart before the garbage men come to pick it up.

But like I said earlier, any step in the right direction is a good one. The biodegradable plastic people will figure it out eventually and when they do, think about all the different products and packaging that I'll get to put in my What's Decomposing blog posts.

Source for Olympic Data:


  1. Compost Guy said...
    18 months is a long time for something to compost, especially in a commercial composter. But, it is much shorter than traditional plastics. So I think it's a good first step, I'm sure it will improve with time.
    Anthony said...
    Hi Compost Guy,
    Yes, I agree that 18 months is too long. I'm thinking about doing an experiment this summer when I have my kids' birthday parties. I'll buy some compostable forks, spoons, etc for the event and then when it's over I'll put them in a bucket of boiling water. I bet that'll speed up the break down process.
    Anonymous said...
    Hemp Hemp Horray!

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