Design for Compostability: Success Stories within the Value Chain
Product designers seeking to close the loop on waste often look in the direction of compostability. But some innovations inadvertently create products and packaging which won’t degrade in existing large scale compost facilities. This can be due to design, composting technology, or processing conditions. So, what does effective design for compostability and facility acceptance look like? A webinar hosted by the National Zero Waste Council and moderated by Alan Blake, Co-Lead, National Zero Waste Council Product Design & Packaging Working Group, featured an expert panel offering valuable insights from their experiences in their daily operations.
- Tim Goodman, Cradle-to-Cradle Manager, Natureworks discusses biopolymers, clarifies the important difference between compostable and degradable plastics, and provides example of some organic waste diversion programs in Minnesota.
- Michele Riggs, Biodegradable Technical Specialist, Cedar Grove Composting offers background on Cedar Grove Compostable Products (the largest municipal composter in the Western U.S.), their ‘would it compost’ criteria, the ten foot rule for identifying compostable products, and current and emerging markets for compost products.
- Sarah Martinez, Sustainability Maven, Eco-Products, Inc. explains why sustainable disposables isn’t necessarily an oxymoron, how compostable foodservice packaging simplifies waste disposal, the importance of third party testing, and addresses the challenges of designing for compostability.
- Patrick Mulholland R.P.Bio., Compost Operations Manager, Carney’s Waste Systems provides an overview of the Whistler, B.C. compost facility and describes what an ideal scenario for compostability might look like, what works in terms of facility design, and why a consistent look to compostable products could be a key factor in continuing the trend towards compostable products.
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