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A Message from Composters Serving Oregon: Why We Don’t Want Compostable Packaging and Serviceware
A Message from Composters Serving Oregon: Why We Don’t Want Compostable Packaging and Serviceware
“Compostable” packaging and serviceware items have been on the rise for the past decade and they are increasingly ending up in our facilities. These materials compromise our composting programs and limit many of the environmental benefits of successful composting. Here are nine reasons why we don’t want “compostable” packaging or serviceware delivered to our facilities: 1. They don't always compost. 2. Contamination happens [and trash ends up in the compost]. 3. They hurt resale quality [of the compost]. 4. We can't sell to organic farmers [because regulations prevent compost from containing certain material]. 5. They may threaten human and environmental health [because chemicals in the packaging end up in the compost and thus in our water and food]. 6. It increases our costs and makes our job harder. 7. Just because something is compostable doesn't mean it's better for the environment. [...] What materials are made of, and how they’re made, may be more significant than whether they’re composted vs. landfilled. “Composting” and “compostable” are not the same idea. Composting is a beneficial treatment option for organic wastes, but “compostable” is not a guarantee of low impact. 8. In some cases, the benefits of recycling surpass those of composting. 9. Good intentions aren’t being realized. Not only do compostable products often cost more to purchase, they also drive up the costs to operate our facilities and impede our ability to sell finished compost. Compostable packaging is promoted as a means of achieving “zero waste” goals but it burdens composters (and recyclers) with materials that harm our ability to efficiently process recovered materials. Reusable dishware is almost always a better choice for the environment. If you must use single-use items, please don’t put them in your compost bin. We need to focus on recycling organic wastes, such as food and yard trimmings, into high-quality compost products that can be used with confidence to restore soils and conserve resources. Compostable packaging doesn’t help us to achieve these goals. We need clean feedstocks in order to produce quality compost. Please help us protect the environment and create high quality compost products by keeping “compostable” packaging and serviceware out of the compost bin.
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A Message from Composters Serving Oregon: Why We Don’t Want Compostable Packaging and Serviceware