Compost Your Repurpose Plates: Home vs. Industrial Options 🍽

Author:  Lauren Plug

10 Methods To Compost Your Repurpose Dinnerware At Home

A wooden crate compost pile close to overflowing with fruits and vegetable scraps

Are you compost curious, wondering what happens next to Repurpose certified compostable products? 

We’re all about ditching plastic and keeping unnecessary waste out of landfills. So, let’s get you started turning food scraps into black gold by choosing a compost method that’s right for you. 

We’re also breaking down the difference between home composting and industrial, especially when it comes to our products. 

Are Compostable Single-Use Products The Answer? 

In a world of single-use compostable products vs. reusables, reusables win. 

Surprised we said that? 

Don’t be! Our company was created to fight plastic, and our team of ecowarriors is all about bringing our reusables wherever possible. 

But we live in reality, and we know it’s not always possible. Life gets busy, plans change at the last minute, and sometimes you just want things to be easy

And that’s where our compostable tableware comes in to save the day. 

Single-use compostables are infinitely better than plastic and they’re helping people have conversations about the bigger problem. Change happens one small step at a time. 

Home Compostable vs Industrial Compostable vs Biodegradable 

What’s the difference between these three words you see on sustainable product labels? 

Biodegradable

A biodegradable item will disintegrate with the help of microorganisms without hurting the environment. It has no time limit or end material qualifiers (unlike compostable). 

If you feel this is a little vague, you’re not alone! A biodegradable label is often used to mislead and greenwash. While California has made it illegal to use biodegradable on a label without a 3rd party certification, there aren’t many other rules around using the word. 

Our products have been tested as biodegradable, but because of the confusion around the word we leave it off and focus on the compostable benefits. 

The caveat: A ‘biodegradable’ label tells you nothing. Everything breaks down, but not everything (bio)degrades. Plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces ( microplastic and nanoplastic), but it will always be plastic. 

Compostable

A compostable item also decomposes with the help of microorganisms into a nutrient-rich substance in a temperature and oxygen-controlled environment. 

To earn a compostable certification (like ours D6400; D6868 & TUV), the items need to decompose by at least 90% within 6 months. 

Here’s where it gets fun! Within the label of compostable, there are two different kinds. Neither is better than the other, they both shine in their own way.

Home/Backyard Compostable

A home compost is great at composting simple organic material like regular household waste. Some items suitable for a home compost are: 

  • Food scraps
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Grass and plant clippings
  • Eggshells
  • Shredded paper
  • Brown bags
  • And old shredded cardboard (for starters). 

A backyard composter typically creates lower temperatures than an industrial composter. This is why it’s more suited for “simple” organic items that break down relatively quickly. 

An industrial compost is better for items that take a bit longer to decompose or might attract pests and rodents to your home pile. 

Industrial compostable

An industrial compost has more sophisticated equipment that creates a more controlled process at a higher temperature, which produces a sanitized end product. This means the end product can be sold as fertilizer! 

An industrial facility can not only compost organic household materials but also the harder stuff as well, such as: 

  • Bones 
  • Oil & grease 
  • Meat scraps
  • Dairy products
  • Fruit pits
  • Baked & cooked food (leftovers)
  • Bioplastics
  • Compostable food packaging and storage
  • Compostable packaging materials

When you’re reading a label, you want to look for certifications that specify whether "industrial composting" is needed.

Because of the materials we work with, some of our products are home-compostable and some are industrial-compostable. 

Do Compostable Plates & Products Break Down In Landfills? 

This is important: nothing breaks down in a landfill. 

There’s a whole lotta stuff other than organic matter sitting in a landfill. Landfills are holes in the ground meant to hold stuff, they aren’t designed for decomposition. 

This is why 58% of landfill methane emissions come from food waste and why adding even a simple home compost is a huge measure against climate change and emissions. Home composting also: 

  • Reduces the amount of waste headed to a landfill.
  • Reduces a landfill’s methane emissions.
  • Saves energy, emissions, and pollution from incinerators and leaf burning. 
  • Saves energy (and fossil fuels) compared to transporting and processing landfill waste.
  • Becomes a safe, reusable product that can help create new (plant) life and even be used as fertilizer (from an industrial facility). 

So if compostables don’t compost in the landfill, what’s the point? 

Compostable products still offer benefits. Take our compostable trash bags for example.

  • They are plant-waste-based
  • They reduce reliance on traditional plastic bags
  • They will still break down into a harmless substance, but because of the conditions of a landfill aren’t made for that, the timeline is unclear
  • They’re not leaching PFAS or other toxins into landfills or the environment
  • They create less emissions during production
  • They use less energy during production

P.S. While you can’t put a compostable bag full of garbage in the compost, you can dump the trash in the bin and compost the bag, similar to how you should not be putting your recycles in a bag in the bin.

Choose Your Home Composting Method

The beautiful thing about home composting in the present day is there are so many options you can easily find one that fits seamlessly into your life. 

Enroll In A Program

a pair of hands holding a pile of dirt with a worm in it
Photo by Sippakorn Yamkasikorn/pexels

If you’re just getting started or have limited space, you might want to consider outsourcing it! All you have to do is collect the scraps and give them to someone else to do the dirty work. 

  • City program
  • Our very first recommendation is to check your local municipality for an existing program. Looking at just 3 major cities:

    Make sure to confirm if the compost is household or industrial. 

  • Private program
  • If your city doesn’t have a community program, that’s okay! Private services can be a great option for city dwellers or those on the go as they usually do door-to-door service or have a convenient community bin to dump in. 

  • Farmer’s market
  • During the farmer’s market season, check your farmer’s market not only for options to sign up for a composting program but for a bin you can drop your waste off with as well!  

  • Local co-op
  • If you’re not familiar with any bulk stores or zero-waste type shops in your area, get familiar then check to see if they have composting bins you can either drop your waste off with or sign up with. 

  • Community garden
  • Community gardens often are composting champions! If there’s a garden near you, see if they have compost, if they accept outside waste, and what kind of waste they accept. 

  • Split it with a neighbor friend
  • If you’re nervous about composting or getting started, go in on it with a neighbor. Team up with a friend to split your food scraps and a subscription. Not only will you have an accountability buddy, you’ll have someone learning the process with you as well! 

    Get Your Hands Dirty And Set Up A Compost At Home!

  • Lomi
  • The Lomi Home Kitchen Composter is a great way to try your hand at composting. It’s a kitchen accessory that lets you put in your food scraps and with a push of a button converts them to compost! Most Repurpose products are Lomi approved. 

  • Vermicomposting
  • Also called worm composting, this is an easy method of composting that comes with a bunch of new little pets that are easy to take care of because all they want to do is eat your food scraps.  

    A well managed worm bin will have an earthy smell but it should not emit a foul odor. You can buy a pre-made bin or DIY one with the right materials. 

  • Compost tumbler
  • This outdoor sealed, rotating bin looks like a sideways barrel on a stand which keeps it safe from animals or pests. Add scraps through a door, and finished compost comes out the other side. To ‘mix’ the organic material you do not need a pitchfork but rather you flip, spin, or roll the bin. 

  • Backyard garden pile 
  • The traditional method involves layering food scraps (greens) and brown materials (like leaves) in a designated area of your yard. It requires the most effort, as you'll need to manage the pile by adding materials and turning it regularly. It can literally be a pile in the corner of your yard, but a controlled area bound by a wood or by wire enclosure works best. 

    Still have questions about composting at home? 

    What do you do with the finished compost? 
    • You can use it to fertilize your own plants or garden, use it in your flowers, spread it on top of your soil, give it to plant friends, or donate it to schools or community gardens.
    • Finished compost can improve your soil’s ability to retain moisture and nutrients and it can help sequester carbon in the soil. 
    How do you store your scraps? 
    • You can store food scraps in a bin in the freezer.
    • In a countertop compost bin with a lid and carbon filter.
    • Or in any container with a lid — perhaps in the garage or on a patio. 

    The full list of Repurpose compostables 

    Home compostable items at Repurpose

    Good news! Many of your favorite Repurpose products are certified home compostable. 

    This means they can break down quickly in a backyard compost pile alongside other organic materials like food scraps and yard trimmings and they will break down into nutrient-rich compost. 

    Not sure if you have access to a home or industrial pile? No worries! Check out your services website for clarification. If that’s not an option, it’s best to assume it’s a home compost pile and treat it as such (meaning don’t toss in any Repurpose industrial items). 

    Industrial compostable items at Repurpose

    While many Repurpose products are superstars in the home compost bin, some are better suited for industrial composting facilities with a little more power. Industrial composting ensures these products break down efficiently without attracting pests or creating odors in your backyard setup.

    Remember, every item that is home compostable can also go in an Industrial composter ( find an industrial composter near you)! You can always find which type of composter a Repurpose product needs to go to on its product page.

    • Certified Compostable = Industrial Compost Facility Required
    • Certified Home Compostable or Certified Compostable, Commercial and Home = Either home compostable or industrial compostable 

     



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