Corn Cups - 4 Tips to Ensure Your PLA Corn Cups Are Actually Composted
How to buy corn cups that are 100% compostable and quick tips to make sure they are actually composted
Viv Biz Club | Green Food Packaging
on August 8, 2010
What's up everybody - We're coming at you here live from our Viv offices and today we're giving y'all 4 quick tips to make sure that your corn cups are indeed composted. Before we do that though, we want to give you a quick run down on how corn... becomes a cup.
So, field corn is harvested, the sugar from the corn (the dextrose) is then extracted, that dextrose is turned into lactic acid, lactic acid become polylactic acid, and then those polylactic acid pellets are molded into your corn cup.
So here are your 4 tips for making sure that these corn cups get composted.
#1 - make sure that you're buying corn cups that are BPI certified and meet ASTM standards D6400, D6868, and/or EN13432. The simplest way to do that is just to head over to BPIworld.org look up your manufacturer on their approved products list and make sure that the manufacturer is BPI certified.
Tip #2 - You want to make sure that your cup has green labeling as well as the word "compostable" on the cup. Why this is really key? First, if you're buying the cups for a business and customers of yours are going to be using them, then that green labeling makes sure that this cup is actually going to go into a composting bin. It tells the customer, 'hey - this is a compostable cup, put it in the composting bin.' Secondly, when the cup lands at a composting facility and it's in the sorting line, folks at the composting facility know that this is a cup that's made from corn, that it's compostable, that it belongs in that facility, and they're not going to sort it out and it's going to get composted.
Tip #3 - You want to make sure that you're getting the cups to a commercial composting facility. Why this is really important. These cups need a high heat to break down. Typically commercial facilities reach up to 55-60 degrees C. Those high heat levels are whats needed to break down the cups. So what you need to do is find a commercial composting facility in your area. Simplest way to do that - use FindaComposter.com. FindaComposter.com - you can quickly look up commercial composting facilities according to your city, your state, you can find ones that'll take the composting away, ones that do a drop-off, and you'll be good to get these into a commercial facility.
Tip #4 - If you are going to backyard compost the cups, here's what we recommend. Two tricks to make sure that the cups do break down in your backyard compost pile... even if it takes a little bit longer than in a commercial facility. Number 1) Give a quick cut to the cups. Take some scissors, give them a quick snip, it's going to break them down into smaller pieces, and those smaller pieces are going to be able to break down more quickly. Number 2) Make sure you're turning over your compost pile. By turning over that pile, you're getting more oxygen into the pile and you're allowing that pile to heat up to the higher levels that it needs to reach to actually break down these cups.
So those are your 4 tips for composting your corn cups. Hope you enjoy them, hope you get them composted... and that's all for corn cups!
Tags: Sustainable, Sustainable Packaging, Corn Cups, Biodegradable, Compostable, Food Packaging