Compostables Were Meant To Save Us From Plastics. They’re Overflowing Landfills

DC:

Originally intended to help alleviate plastic waste, compostable products are instead filling up landfills and wreaking havoc on recycling plants.

Compostable bags, cups and cutlery are designed to be even more environmentally friendly than their standard biodegradable counterparts. Like biodegradables, they are capable of breaking down into the soil, but compostables have the added benefit of releasing valuable nutrients into the soil when they decompose. Such nutrients can aid the growth of plants and other wildlife, making compostables the plastics of choice for environmental advocates.

Compostable use in the U.S. is rising dramatically, with the number of certified products climbing 80 percent in less than four years.

However, to properly break down, compostable products typically need to undergo high temperatures and moisture. Such conditions require placement in special industrial facilities. While a growing number of programs offer compostable disposal sites, a lack of proper labeling and public unawareness is resulting in many people simply throwing away their compostables in the trash, where they end up in landfills and fail to decompose.

“The vast majority of consumers don’t have an understanding of how composting works,” Anne Elsea, a spokeswoman for non-profit GreenBlue, told The Wall Street Journal.

The confusion is causing major compost programs to scale back or stop operations entirely.  more

17 Comments on Compostables Were Meant To Save Us From Plastics. They’re Overflowing Landfills

  1. One more example in a long list: The short attention spans and poor impulse control of pols and eco-agitators usually translate into unintended consequences worse than the perceived original “problem”.

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  2. Can anyone name one cockamaimie “were out to save the world” scheme the left promotes that hasn’t caused more problems than it was supposedly going to solve? Just one.

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  3. And the plastic island in the pacific is cause from the west coast of the US shipping its recycling to China where it gets dumped into the ocean.

    We need to start burning it all to generate electricity

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  4. “However, to properly break down, compostable products typically need to undergo high temperatures”

    Glowbull warming to the rescue.

    9
  5. We need to start burning it all to generate electricity

    Absolutely Frank!

    Using waste products for electrical production is an excellent idea. Too bad the greens wont allow it. Even just burning garbage is better than sending it to China.

    My town used-to have a garbage incinerator. It needed to be upgraded to meet increasingly stringent EPA standards but that was ok. With a few more upgrades our incinerator would have been able to dispose medical wastes which would have made big bucks for the city and county. Looked like a winning proposition to me.

    Sadly the greens won and the incinerator was not only closed after the vote but also was immediately dismantled. As in dismantled in the middle of the night just to make sure it could never be voted back into life.

    So now our garbage gets trucked to a landfill hundreds of miles away.

    7
  6. send it all to gillette. They started the concept of ‘disposable when they introduced their ‘disposable’ safety razor blade. They didn’t invent the safety razor, they just invented the ‘throw away’ concept.

    2
  7. The vast majority of consumers don’t have an understanding of how composting works

    The majority (as in, more than half) of consumers with access to compostables live where it is against the law to compost… anything. (But, at least, they don’t need cars.)

    3
  8. Compostables do NOT require an industrial facility to break them down.
    These products were designed to be thrown into the compost bin along with other organic matter destined for the compost pile.
    Organic matter makes up nearly 70% of the municipal waste stream, and all of it could be recycled into rich organic matter suitable for gardens and lawns.
    The problem is that the waste generators are too lazy to sort their garbage, sending it all to one bag.
    Nova Scotia, the entire province, has had a total ban on organic matter going into landfill space.
    They deal with it by providing two waste receptacles, one, is designed specifically for organic matter.
    If the customer mixes in something not supposed to be in there, the smelly stuff stays there .

    1
  9. when growing up, we had the trash man and the garbage man. Garbage was put/kept in an in ground , sealed container and collected weekly. It was probably used for feeding pigs, and not composting. That was in the 50’s. How things have improved.

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  10. @Frank Bass January 23, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    > Remember when every back yard had a trash burner?

    Yeah… Everybody called them “Dad”.

    (Now we’ve got “rape culture” and baby mama gibs.
    Ah… progress.)

  11. @Frank Bass January 23, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    > Remember when every back yard had a trash burner?

    Yep, we country bumpkins still have them. I figure one day it will be illegal to burn our trash when the EPA figures out we all still do it out in the country.

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