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Is 'compostable packaging' really compostable at home?

wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 8,275
Has anyone tried composting any of the so-called plant based plastics with any success? I get dog poo bags from Biobag that are plant starch based and they come attached to a stub like a cheque book. After I've got through all the bags I'm left with the stub which I've been chucking them into the dalek compost bins (the bags go in the council dog poo bin down the road). The compost always does well and is usually steaming when I stir it even in the summer but I dug some out recently and the stub has appeared unharmed after months in there. It's put me off composting stuff like that so I've been putting it all in the council food waste bin instead and that goes off to a biofuel plant for incineration. There seems to be more and more of this type of packaging now though which is great as long as it actually does compost.
Some people bring joy wherever they go. Others, whenever they go. - Mark Twain.


  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,688
    edited August 2018
    Not sure what your poo bags are made of. There are several different types of plastic which claim to be biodegradable.

    If it’s the one that goes by the name of oxo ( for reasons best known to itself), there seems to be some doubt about just how degradable it is.:

    If it’s the type which, for want of a better description, has the texture of a condom, I would say that yes, it will degrade in your compost heap in the space of a few months.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,532
    edited August 2018

    Our council supplies "biodegradeable" bags for food waste, which they collect from non-composting households.  After months in my dalek, they were still intact, so I stopped using them. Now I just line the kitchen bin with newspaper, which is very biodegradeable.

    Some products biodegrade too easily.  Last year a friend gave me some jute mesh bags intended for making leaf mould.  The sacks disintegrated much quicker than the leaves.

  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 16,511
    I would think that purely starch/sugar plastics should be ok. It's bloomin' hard finding out the details of what the bags are really made of, though.
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 8,275
    I've noticed recently that more of this type of packaging has been changed to read "commercially compostable" or similar. If more councils move towards incineration will they increase the calorific value of the packaging I wonder?
    Some people bring joy wherever they go. Others, whenever they go. - Mark Twain.
  • madpenguinmadpenguin Isle of WightPosts: 2,438
    I received a Sarah Raven catalogue yesterday and it was wrapped in a bag based on potato starch and was instructed to dispose of in my green bin.How quickly it degrades I don't know.
    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 20,901
    I know what Wild Edge is taking about, not the bags but the strip they are attached to, have you tried soaking it in a drop of boiling water, they do fall to bits then and will be ok on your compost heat, it’s the glue in them that doesn’t break down. 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,217
    The glue then ends up down the drain and into the water system?  Lovely.  I suspect much of this "green" packaging needs higher heat levels than we can achieve in our compost heaps.

    Those disposable, biodegradeable wet wipes they've been selling in the UK have been proven not to biodegrade - not in the sewers system anyway.   Just who does the testing that allows them to make such claims about their products and packaging.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 20,901
    As you say Obe, there doesn’t time seem to be an answer, I’m forever protesting about something, does it work, not often! 
    Short of not buying offending products what can be done? 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,243
    It's not just the wet wipes, Obelixx. I worked at one place that kept having to get a drain man out for blocked drains and an awful smell.  Provision of Sanitary bins and  notices on the toilet saying only flush toilet paper didn't work. We eventually found it was because the firm insisted on using cheap recycled toilet paper, that didn't disintegrate, as well as being hard and scratchy. A nice atmosphere was resumed when we started using Andrex instead. Try putting a piece of your loo paper in a bottle of water and shake. If it doesn't break down in a few minutes, it's a drain clogger.
    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 5,447
    @josusa47 said "Now I just line the kitchen bin with newspaper, which is very biodegradeable."
    Our council will not take food waste in newspaper because they claim the ink contaminates the system :s 
    AB Still learning

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