Compostable Plastics Are Compostable — But Not at Home

This summer, as you sip on iced coffee and picnic in the great outdoors, check your plastic cups, plates and utensils for the terms “biodegradable” and “compostable” or the BPI logo. Don’t try to compost these items at home — they won’t break down fully.

Bioplastics are designed to withstand heat and liquid. For example, think of the last time you used a compostable plastic spoon to eat hot soup — these plastics need an industrial composter to be broken down appropriately. Find an industrial composter here. If you can’t compost them industrially, toss them in the trash.

Keep in mind: Biodegradable plastics are not recyclable, so when you use these items and toss them into your curbside collection, they’ll end up in the landfill. Also, reusable items are always more eco-friendly than recyclable or compostable ones, so reduce your use of disposable products whenever possible. Investing in a travel mug and travel utensils can prevent a lot of unnecessary consumption.