Articles for category Backgrounds & Definitions
PDF, Last Updated Apr 2015
The compostable food service ware quick guide was designed as a tool (distributed by the USCC) for the composter and hauler community. Its purpose is to help composters/haulers determine if a product is, by standards of science and direct product testing in facilities, compostable. This document also provides information on differences in terminology. This is intended to minimize confusion related to items that may be perceived as compostable (as in “made from plants” or “biodegradable”), and to make composters aware that these items may not meet compostability standards.
PDF, Last Updated Feb 2014
This one-page information sheet from the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), answers three frequently asked questions about compostable products: 1. What makes a bag or other product compostable? 2. Can I put compostable products in my backyard compost bin? 3. How can I be sure products are really compostable?
PDF, Last Updated Jan 2014
The survey was designed to gauge what municipal waste management professionals know about compostable plastics and to identify the most valuable resources to help municipal waste professionals manage compostable plastics. The survey was distributed via email to approximately 2,500 waste industry and government online listserv recipients, including regional Technical Advisory Councils, State Recycling Coordinators, the California Resource Recovery Association, the US Composting Council, and members of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network.
Webpage, Last Updated Jan 2014
Composting has many benefits—reduces waste, lowers greenhouse gas emissions, creates jobs—but at the end of the day, it’s really about one thing: soil. And if you think about it, our future is really about that same thing, our soil. Without healthy soils, we can’t grow the food we need to survive, and countless other organisms will suffer too.
This informational webpage includes a 4-step guide to preventing plastics pollution.
Webpage, Last Updated Dec 2013
An overview article on bioplastics from the September 2011 issue of Waste Age. This article discusses a potential boom in the bioplastics industry in the near future, but also the concerns with the varied end-of-life requirements for compostable plastics that some waste haulers and composters have expressed.
Website, Last Updated Dec 2013
This informational webpage from Eco-Cycle is a guide to determining which products and packaging should be composted. It includes a 4-step guide to preventing plastic pollution.
PDF, Last Updated Dec 2013
This article from BioCycle Magazine reviews the compostables sector of the bioplastics industry has been making significant inroads, especially with starchbased and PLA resins.
Webpage, Last Updated Jul 2013
The Compostable Plastics Task Force (CPTF) is an ad-hoc committee of the U.S. Composting Council. Its mission is to provide an organizational structure that facilitates a dialog among plastics producers, product manufacturers, purchasers and consumers of compostable plastic products, recycling and organics recovery program managers, and composters. To influence the ongoing development of compostable plastics so that materials benefit the composting industry through increased organic waste capture, and don’t add undue burdens including non-compostability of materials and added residue disposal.
Webinar, Last Updated Jul 2011
This US Composting Council webinar from July 2011 explains what compostable plastics are (and are not), where they are being successfully used, and examines some of the key challenges, such as identification and labeling, certification and standards, infrastructure development and consumer education.
PDF, Last Updated Jan 2011
This white paper presents a basic overview of compostable plastics, including a review of definitions, standards for biodegradability, identification, and challenges consumers face. The paper was sponsored by the California Organics Recycling Council, a technical Committee of the California Resource Recovery Association.
PDF, Last Updated Mar 2010
This paper discusses biodegradability as an end-of-life option, how to measure biodegradability, and the requirement of the plastic to breakdown completely by the microbial food chain.
PDF, Last Updated Jan 2009
A Compostable Plastics study sponsored by Calrecycle that includes information ranging from definitions and statutes to ongoing research, why compostable plastic is used, and its affect on the waste stream.