By Kathryn Sukalich on Oct 10, 2013

New Catalog Provides List of Certified Compostable Products

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A new catalog aims to help composters and consumers identify products that will break down in a commercial composting facility. Photo: Shutterstock

A new catalog aims to help composters and consumers identify products that will break down in a commercial composting facility. Photo: Shutterstock

A new catalog created by the nonprofit Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) lists more than 3,300 products that are certified to break down in commercial composting facilities.

The catalog, which is believed to be the first of its kind, is intended to help composters and consumers know whether the products they use will actually create beneficial compost. Items included in the catalog are cups, plates, cutlery, bags, films and resins.

Information about food service items is particularly helpful for composters, because separating plastic cutlery from food waste can be challenging and costly. By replacing plastic silverware with biodegradable alternatives, food service companies can help streamline the composting process.

“Compostable products substitute for nondegradable plastics in zero waste diversion efforts, making it easier to compost waste streams that are predominantly food scraps or wet/soiled paper,” said Steven A. Mojo, executive director of BPI, in a statement on the organization’s website. “The new BPI catalog provides accurate, item-level identification of these certified products — essential information composters need to demand that waste generators purchase and use only specific, BPI-approved products.”

According to BPI’s website, since the introduction of biodegradable plastics 15 years ago, confusion about whether a product will satisfactorily break down is common. BPI hopes to clear up some of that confusion with the new catalog. And nonbiodegradable plastics cost the composting industry money when they make it into their waste stream.

“The remaining plastic fragments reduce the value of the compost, creating lost revenue opportunities,” BPI writes on its website.

By consulting the new catalog, buyers of plastics will have a better understanding of which products can be sent directly to commercial composting facilities. To make this process even easier, the BPI website also offers contact information for many suppliers of compostable products.

To learn more about BPI’s compostable products certification or to search the catalog, visit the organization’s website.

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