Summer 2013: The Compostable Picnic

When planning a summer picnic or any event that requires disposable food service items, consider using biodegradable plates, cups, and cutlery. Today, there is a wide variety of biodegradable picnic wear. However, ensuring you are purchasing certified Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) compostable products is essential.

BPI logoDue to the widespread claims of “natural” or “biodegradable” products, BPI has developed scientifically based standards to label products fit for large industrial composting facilities.  Disposing of non-certified products into compost leads to contamination and high costs for processing and disposal. To identify certified BPI products, simply look for their logo to know you are making the correct purchase.

Biodegradable products today come from a wide variety of feedstocks, including: BPI certified resin, compressed palm leaves, sugarcane bagasse, palm fiber, bamboo pulp, reed fiber, corn starch, biopolymer plant sugar, and paperboard.

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Before purchasing, be sure to note the capacity of your local composting facility. All BPI products will break down in municipal or commercial composing facilities. However, some BPI certified compostable products require high temperatures to decompose. Therefore, those are not suitable for a typical home composting bin.

It is important to remember when purchasing biodegradable or compostable products; they must be disposed of properly. They will not break down in landfills; even food waste does not decompose in a landfill. This summer make your picnic zero-waste by using BPI certified plates, cups, and cutlery!

 

For a full list of BPI certified products, visit their site here.

Below are links to check if there are composting facilities in your area:

http://www.wm.com/residential/curbside-waste-pickup.jsp

http://www.findacomposter.com/listing/alllocations.php