With the rise of awareness of plastic pollution, there are more and more companies calling themselves eco-friendly and creating "sustainable" products. We believe that many of the commonplace terms are ambiguous and incorrect on their representation on environmental friendliness. Our goal would be to find only products that are back yard compostable and marine degradable within 60-90 days, but most of our single-use products don't have viable alternatives yet. Because of this, we've specified the level of sustainability for each of the products we recommend. Each will need a different waste stream based upon their attributes.
The term compostable means that the product will break down completely within 60-90 days in a commercial composting facility. Many cities do not have a commercial composting facility, so please check that you can dispose of your compostable products in the correct manner. If a compostable product does not get disposed of correctly, it will act just like a piece of plastic on the side of the road or in a body of water.
PHA stands for polyhydroxyalkanoate. It is an FDA-approved, naturally occurring biopolymer. It’s biodegradable, compostable, produces zero toxic waste, and breaks down into CO₂, water, and organic waste. This will happen in compost or a landfill, and even in soil, fresh water, and the ocean.
PHA is made by bacteria that feed on sugars, vegetable oils, starches, or greenhouse gases. It can be used to make packaging that is durable and works like regular plastic in hot and cold environments.
Many cities have banned the use of this word in advertising because it doesn't really mean anything important. Scientists believe that EVERY item on the earth is biodegradable. There is no time limit on Biodegradability. Eventually, all items will break down into smaller and smaller pieces. Even your car is considered biodegradable because it will eventually break down. If a product you're purchasing touts biodegradability, we recommend doing more research on it.
Testing for marine degradability is new for the world. There are not many facilities that offer to test for it because it also takes a very long time. There are some products that are inherently marine degradable like uncoated napkins, wood, and natural/raw materials. Our criterias are that our products listed as marine degradable will break down in a marine environment within 1 year. Also, the product will break down completely into raw ingredients instead of breaking down to toxic microparticles.
The three arrows on the bottom of your coffee cup with a number in the middle DOES NOT mean that the item is recyclable. That image only signifies what type of plastic the item is made of. There is a different graphic for recyclability, but the product will also say recyclable if it is. The issue with recycling is that it really is only downcycling. Most recycling facilities recycle products down to lower grades of plastic until they eventually can't be recycled anymore. Also, every recycling facility is different from what types of plastic they will take. Please check with your local recycling facility to see what their requirements are for cleanliness and what types of plastic they will recycle.