COMPOSTING ‘VEGWARE’ ™ & BIODEGRADABLE BAGS AND CONTAINERS IN THE HOTBIN
The HOTBIN was developed to compost all food, garden and grass in the home and garden. We were contacted by Lucy Frankel at the foodwastenetwork.org.uk who is building a food waste network www.foodwastenetwork.org.uk to help commercial business do more to divert food waste from landfill.
We got to talking about using the HOTBIN for small cafes, restaurants and hotels (noting a limitation under ABPR that each commercial site would need to have its own garden/land to use any compost made). Lucy wanted to know if the HOTBIN could handle things like compostable takeaway packaging and asked if we would try some specific tests for her. Lucy works for Vegware Ltd who offer compostable products like cups, tableware, fast food containers and the like.
We were keen to give it a go, confident the HotBin would eat them fast and furious!
What are the composting objectives?
- If the HOTBIN composts them, users can use these containers at home
- If HOTBIN eats them, then possible use of Vegware + HOTBIN at summer events that are semi permanent (ie weeks rather than days) over summer.
We are not suggesting homes will use all these items but on the other hand isn’t it good to know if your Vegware fish & chips, pizza or deli container can be composted at home.
Setup and methodology
- A range of items were received. These were chopped up with scissors.
- The HOTBIN was running at 50C, and the items were just tossed in.
- Each weekend more food waste was added above the Vegware and stirred in
Progress at end of week 2
- Well as expected the more ‘cardboard’ like containers had gone!
- The ‘clear plastic’ (PLA) pots has started to compost (turn white, curled edges)
- Spoons and forks (CPLA) – a lot tougher and will take longer
- There has been no noticeable affect good or bad on the temperature of the HotBin
Progress at end of week 6
- Only one fragment of ‘clear plastic’ (PLA) remains
- Spoons and forks (CPLA) – all but two fragments gone
Looking at the small fragments left – they are soft and have been well attacked. It is most likely that these fell to side and dropped to lower colder zone during stirring.
The HOTBIN eats PLA containers – no problems. The thicker spoons and forks (CPLA) are also eaten – it just takes a little longer and you might need to pass a few bits back through.
Notes on what the materials are made from:
PLA is made from corn starch by Natureworks LLC, and is an ideal replacement for oil-based plastic in a multitude of applications. These include films, thermorformed products such as cups and deli pots, and also injection-moulded products.
CPLA is a proprietary combination of PLA, chalk and other biodegradable additives. CPLA is suitable for high-heat applications such as making cutlery and hot cup lids, as it can take temperatures of up to 85°C without any deformation.