We’ve received a multitude of questions concerning our replacement of Taterware utensils with regular ol’ plastic. Compostable plastics are a beautiful and forward thinking idea; unfortunately the product was designed and delivered without proper technology to match from composting centers. Oliver’s Markets participates in an advanced municipal composting program with Jepson Prairie Organics. Jepson Prairie abides by an “earth to earth” philosophy-anything once alive can be composted and turned back into nutrients for our planet. Through JP, we are able to compost all of our deli, meat department, and bakery waste: raw meat, bones, shells, cookies, dairy, paper products, fruits and vegetables, you name it! Because of our partnership, we have been able to divert a tremendous amount of post consumer waste from going to landfill.
Jepson Prairie’s facility creates high quality organic compost used by growers and landscapers. The compost is sorted upon arrival. There is no clear identification system to differentiate compostable plastics from conventional plastic, CPs are sorted out as garbage along with other plastics and unfit materials that enter the premises. Even if there were a better way to identify compostables, these plastics take much longer to break down than the 30-45 day engineered compost system that Jepson Prairie uses. “Additionally, the National Organic Program (NOP) does not allow synthetics to be composted. Unless the NOP reviews the compatibility of CPs and allows these products to be composted under their program rules, facilities that produce compost to meet organic standards cannot accept these products.”
Oliver’s has decided to discontinue our use of compostable plastics until there is an established method of composting through the facilities with which we collaborate.
One last thought: Is it sustainable to (at any point) substitute our dependence on single-use plastic with a compostable plastic when they are made from plant products? Plant products grown on land that is fit for food production-plant products that require large amounts of water, fertilizer and pesticides.
Questions and comments are welcome! (email@example.com)