Compostables Are Not the Answer

We see these words often: Compostable! Biodegradable! Bioplastic! All of these have emerged on the market as green “solutions” to the single-use plastics crisis. But you can’t solve the single-use plastics problem with other single-use products.

There are a number of reasons compostable, bioplastic or biodegradable containers are actually worse than their single-use plastic alternatives:

Sadly, consumers and restaurants are being greenwashed into paying a premium for a sub-premium solution. The good intentions of restaurants are not being realized and the cost is both environmental and economic: compostable containers are always much more expensive for businesses than other single-use alternatives, yet no better a solution. Businesses trying to do the right thing suffer through these costs, and these are businesses that already run on very thin margins.

Encourage your local businesses to minimize single-use products, by participating in campaigns such as Arlington’s “No Plastics Please!” or “Skip the Stuff”, choosing single-use options that are clearly recyclable or choosing reusables for takeout when available.

Step-by-step, we can make choices that truly reduce waste!

Science Daily: Compostable food containers could release PFAS into environment

Upstream Solutions: Why compostables and bioplastics aren’t the answer

A Message from Composters Serving Oregon

BeyondPlastics: The False Promise Of Bioplastics and Compostable Plastics

Popular Science: Your compostable cups and containers aren’t reversing the plastic problem

Natural Resources Council of Maine: 5 Reasons Why We’re Not Crazy About Compostable Food Ware