Starre Vartan

Compostable Packaging Test: Bambu Plates Breakdown

by , 11/11/10

sustainable design, green design, packaging the future, biodegradable packaging, green packaging, composting test, green materials, bambu plates

This week we’re thrilled to bring you the latest installment of our Packaging the Future compost tests, where we break down the real-life biodegradability of eco packaging. Although I started this series expecting less than stellar results (what with all the nay-saying regarding biodegradable packaging), I am now pleasantly surprised to say that we are two for two! This week we put the compostable Bambu brand bamboo plate to the test and found that it really does break down quite nicely – hit the jump for our in-depth report!

sustainable design, green design, packaging the future, biodegradable packaging, green packaging, composting test, green materials, bambu plates

I took the above picture on July 8, 2010, just a few minutes before I added the plate to my backyard compost (which, as previously detailed, is far from ideal; I pretty much just throw my kitchen scraps and other compostables on the pile and mix it up with leaves and other garden detritus. I’m not a hard-core composter, so this test is imperfect in that there would be different results if one were to try it in a more well-turned, ventilated, balanced and paid-attention-to compost heap.

However, my admittedly haphazard approach to composting has an advantage, which is to show what would likely happen if any of the materials I am testing makes its way into the environment (in other words, becomes litter). Because, after all, unless someone is composting in their backyard like me, or has compost pickup in their city (like Seattle, San Francisco and London), most compostables end up in the landfill, where, due to the lack of oxygen, they won’t break down. The anaerobic conditions disallow bacteria, molds and insects to do their important work, and so even the most biodegradable stuff in the world will remain intact for decades (cue 30 year-old banana peels).

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6 Comments

  1. jill swanson November 14, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Love the Bambu and the Verterra. I work for a caterer and we’ve used both. The Bambu is a more sturdy (like a solid wood plate) and the veterra is much more unique (every plate looks a different). If you need larger quantities for big parties, these guys have them both in bulk: http://www.joannehudson.com/disposable-plates-green-dinnerware.html

  2. geva November 14, 2010 at 6:45 am

    great break down Starre… great to bring all the points to the table

  3. stephanie gale November 13, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Good to know! Personally, if I have to use disposables, I like VerTerra’s version; plates made from fallen leaves. Supposedly breaking down in about 2 weeks, and also available at Whole Foods stores and other natural foods marekts. (I don’t have a compost pile, but maybe that could be your next test??) http://www.verterra.com/dinnerware.php

  4. Diane Pham Diane Pham November 11, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    love these, i’m going to try them out at the next dinner party i have.

  5. kestrel November 11, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    love to see the real “break down” on this issue!

  6. Yuka Yoneda Yuka Yoneda November 11, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    I always wanted to buy these but was never sure if they’d really break down. Now I know. Thanks Starre!

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