Composting presents many benefits: it recycles carbon by treating biowaste, it feeds the soil and it mitigates climate change. Indeed, compost avoids the emission of 4 million tCO2eq/year as fertilizer and it stores 5 million tCO2/year of carbon in soils. Currently, 83 million tons of biowaste are recycled annually representing only 8% of the total potential of around 1 billion tons. Compostable plastics (EN13432 certified) can be collected and treated together with biowaste. The study from the Wageningen University published in 2020 showed that compostable plastics are compatible with Dutch industrial composting facilities and can even degrade faster than some organic waste like orange peels or paper.
When used in packaging, compostable materials contribute to the increase of organic waste collection and diversion of organic waste from landfilling and incineration.
Composting is the only sustainable and feasible waste treatment for some type of packaging like teabags, coffee pods and containers for take away food. When food contamination is high, recycling is not viable. Compostable plastics can furthermore help to reduce contamination of compost by non-degradable traditional plastics.
Following this logic, a new Green Deal was signed in The Netherlands agreeing to convert nationally all tea bags and coffee pods to compostable ones. When a high conversion rate will be reached then composters will accept to collect them with biowaste, potentially resulting in 88 million additional tons of organic waste.
Total Corbion PLA believes that composting is part of a circular economy and must be included in the waste hierarchy as it is the most sustainable solution for some applications that are contaminated with food waste or that are likely to end up in organic waste. We support the development of composting infrastructure and public awareness.