A recent Reddit thread posed an important question about compostable packaging: What if you don’t have a compost bin?
“What to do with paper products that are marketed as compostable? I don’t have a compost. Can they be recycled normally?” the Redditor asked, showing a photo of a product with a label that said the packaging was compostable.
Compostable packaging is an alternative to harmful plastic packaging. It is made from materials designed to break down naturally in an appropriate environment, such as a backyard composting bin.
Compostable packaging differs from biodegradable packaging, which can take longer to break down. Both require specific environmental conditions to break down properly.
Sending compostable packaging to the landfill is not typically doing the product justice, as the inside of a trash bag lacks the necessary conditions to compost.
The best way to dispose of compostable packaging is to compost it. But if you don’t have your own compost bin, there are some options.
Most municipalities now have green bins designated for yard waste and other organic materials such as food scraps. In some cities, using green bins is mandated for organic material, and failure to compost can even incur fines.
These green bins are your best option for compostable packaging if you don’t have your own compost setup. If your city doesn’t offer green bins, you can call your local waste department and ask about green waste options.
Compostable packaging should also not be put in the recycling bin.
Redditors shared some helpful tips for dealing with compost in the comment section.
One recommended looking for a community garden, writing, “they may accept compostable materials if they have a compost pile.”
“Otherwise, there are a number of composting networks that you can find online,” the same user continued. “Sharewaste is a global network where compost owners list themselves and accept compostable waste from neighbors. How active it is depends entirely on region but you should check it out in case there are any active members near you.”
Other users suggest “burying it” in their garden or park or using it as a planter.
As one Redditor offered up, “farmers’ markets usually have a compost vendor.”