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International Composting Week 2024

Happy International Composting Week!

Did you know that while recycling is essential and a step in the right direction toward a more sustainable future, a significant portion of recyclable materials, especially plastics, are not recycled? According to National Geographic, a staggering 91 percent of plastic made to date is not recycled, leaving only around 9 percent to be repurposed. This means that most plastic ends up in landfills and marine ecosystems, where it can harm aquatic life. 

This is where composting steps in as a wonderful solution. Composting harnesses nature's processes, turning organic materials like food scraps, biobased materials solutions, and leaves into nutrient-rich compost fertilizer. It accelerates natural decomposition by creating optimal conditions for bacteria, fungi, worms, and other decomposers to thrive.

Recently, many material science companies have been working tirelessly to create compostable alternatives to everyday products like packaging materials, plastic foams, utensils, plastic product windows, to-go containers, and more! 

Some of the most successful innovations thus far include

Cruz Foams Cruz Cool Cold Chain Cooler
  1. Cruz Foam: creating a compostable alternative to traditional EPE and EPS plastic foams. Cruz Foam can replace plastic foam cold chain coolers, block and brace protection solutions for fragile shipments, and insulation for wine, beverages, spirits, and beyond! 

2. Sway the Future: creating an alternative to traditional plastic film packaging with their compostable seaweed alternative.

3. Gaea Star: creating an alternative to traditional to-go coffee cups with 3-D printed compostable clay cups

4. Loliware: creating an alternative to traditional plasticware products with its compostable alternative made from seaweed resin

5. Nature Coatings: creating an alternative to chemical-based pigments with wood waste

These material innovations are all compostable and can be composted in industrial facilities and at home, offering a sustainable alternative to products that normally go straight to the waste stream after a single use. But what’s the difference between industrial and home composting?

Industrial composting operates on a larger scale, often in controlled environments, where materials are broken down efficiently. On the other hand, home composting is smaller in scale, relying more on natural processes, and can be done right in your backyard. Both methods play a crucial role in diverting waste from landfills and enriching soil health.

If you're considering composting at home, here are some tips to get you started:

Know what you can compost: Fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, yard waste like grass clippings and leaves, and even paper towels and cardboard can be composted. Materials marked as compostable with the compost symbol from a legitimate composting agency can also be composted! Avoid composting meat, dairy, and oily foods.

Choose your method: Various composting methods suit different needs and spaces. Bin composting involves using a compost bin or pile in your backyard. Vermicomposting utilizes worms to break down organic matter in a worm bin. Bokashi composting uses fermentation to decompose food waste in an airtight container.

Maintaining balance: For successful composting, balance green (nitrogen-rich) and brown (carbon-rich) materials. Aim for a mix of roughly 50% green and 50% brown materials in your compost pile.

Composting offers numerous environmental benefits, including waste reduction, decreased greenhouse gas emissions, improved soil health, and reduced reliance on chemical fertilizers. Every effort you make to compost your food scraps and compostable materials contributes to a healthier planet.

So, this International Composting Week and beyond, help us commit to composting and turning our waste into a valuable resource. The Earth thanks you for your efforts in building a more sustainable future!

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