When choosing compostable products for your serve ware, it’s very important to make sure they are BPI Certified, here’s why.
Compostable products cannot go into your backyard compost because they are not like food scraps and will take too long to break down. Compostable products can only be composted through commercial composters such as Community Compost or Curbside Compost because they use more intense heat methods to break these items down. And most of us think when buying compostable products that if the plates, cups, or cutlery say they’re “biodegradable” or “compostable” then it’s ok to put into commercial compost. However, commercial composters can only accept compostable products that are BPI Certified ensuring that the products are safe to be commercially composted. Composting returns these products back to the earth and commercial composters sell their compost to farms, who in turn, use the compost mulch on their crops of fruits and vegetables. Compostable products that are not BPI Certified may contain chemicals that are not safe for soil.
What does BPI Certified actually mean?
The Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) created a rigorous certification process that ensures items can be cycled back into the soil safely at a commercial composting facility. This is done through testing to ASTM standards and applying additional restrictions on carcinogens and fluorinated chemicals.
The BPI Certification Mark indicates third-party verification of compostability for manufacturers and brand owners to use on their products and packaging so consumers and end-users recognize they are safe to compost, as well as, commercial composters using this verification when determining whether or not a product or package is compostable. It means that these compostable products have been made with ingredients that meet the ASTM standards for compostable products in North America. Sadly, if any products that are not BPI Certified end up in commercial compost facilities, it is considered contaminated and will cause the composter to have to pull the entire batch and put it in the trash.
So here is what to look for when purchasing compostable products to use at home or when you’re out and able to discard the compostable products in a commercial compost bin. Make sure you see this symbol and that it says “this product is BPI Certified and meets ASTM standards.”
You can go to the following websites to shop for these products. Just type in “BPI Certified” and a list of these products should come up making them easy to find.
The BPI site also has a search bar where you can search for all certified products and companies. While compostable products can definitely help you achieve low waste in situations where you have to use single-use items, always keep in mind that if you can use reusable serve ware that is truly the best for the environment.