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A Comparison of Compostable Materials to Traditional Options


As Geosphere grows and learns, we are always striking a balance between function, scalability, and end of life potential to prevent pollution. We see our primary mission as addressing the two-fold problem before us all:

  1. Moving away from petroleum to renewable and regenerative processes and materials;
  2. Addressing packaging and plastic pollution.

A clear benefit of using compostable materials when you do need single use products is that they will disintegrate in landfill or in the general environment in a year rather than a century or more, and they will not leave behind toxic residues. Some definitions below:

TUV OK Compost

A product’s raw materials are non-toxic and will readily break down in a moist, warm environment when in contact with the microbes that live in soil.

Commercial or Industrially Compostable Certification

The product has been lab tested under municipal composting facility conditions-with the right balance of steady heat, moisture and microorganisms for rapid and complete biodegradation– and will break down in 90 days or less into air, water and soil. Every region of the world establishes its own certification codes, with essentially matching guidelines: For example, the designation for Commercially Compostable in US is D6400, in the EU EN13432.

Home Compostable Certification

The product has been tested in a home composter or backyard compost pile. Again, if the pile is warm and moist, soil microbes will attack and break down home compostable products mixed with a good balance of organic green materials like food and yard waste. Products with Home Compostable certification will disintegrate (break into pieces) in 6 months, and fully biodegrade and form compost within a year.

Our newer bioplastic, made with Kaneka’s 100% plant-based PHBH, has an added benefit of breaking down in watery environments in a relatively short period of time. We are still in development on PHBH products for the apparel markets, but we have third party testing certifying the disintegration and biodegradation of PHBH in water, leaving behind no toxic or micro-plastic residues.

As a baseline, all of our materials, including inks, are certified non-toxic in air, water and soil, and to animals, humans and insects.

As municipalities and governments add composting to their Solid Waste Management systems, they generally begin with very rigid allowable inputs – vegetables, fruits, non-weed yard waste – so that the resulting compost is easy to manage. As composting infrastructure matures, municipalities learn to manage a wide variety of inputs including compostable packaging, diverting 40-60% of municipal waste FROM landfill.

Valuable compost outputs include effective replacement for commercial fertilizers, industrial grade development materials, landscaping materials.

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