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Laura McNamara

July 7, 2023

Digging Deeper: Home Composting vs. Industrial Composting 

Unearthing the differences between the most common composting practices.

Nowadays, there are countless products out there labeled as "compostable" - but did you know that there are different processes of composting for different types of products?

Composting is essentially the recycling of organic materials through processes of natural decomposition, resulting in a nutrient-rich mulch perfect for maintaining healthy soil. 

The Environmental Protection Agency reports that over 30% of our annual waste in America consists of food waste and yard scraps. Composting is a great way to combat this rising statistic.

Products labeled as compostable can either be composted in a simple backyard setup, while others need to be sent to an industrial facility. We need both systems to properly manage different materials and quantities of waste.

It is important to note that composting regulations vary in different locations, so be sure to stay up to date with your local waste management services.

Home Composting

The process of home composting can be as simple or as involved as you would like, no green thumb required. It is best utilized for food scraps and yard waste, though some packaging can be home composted as well - including This Element's paper bags!

If you don't have your own compost bin, websites like allow you to search for soil-makers near you; all you have to do is drop off your organic waste at the nearest site!

Here at This Element, we are proud to provide home compostable packaging options including paper and molded fiber, as well as wooden cutlery. Paper bags can be home composted, and any Aqueous or PLA lined paper packaging can be industrially composted. Molded fiber packaging, along with any food scraps it may contain, can be composted in any way!

Home Compostable Items

Industrial Composting

Also known as commercial composting, this process differs from home composting in terms of scale, conditions, and management. Industrial facilities make it possible to compost large quantities of material due to their higher temperatures and diligent supervision.

Businesses, especially restaurants, use this service to accommodate large outputs of organic waste. Households also utilize industrial composting for certain products made from sustainable materials.

Industrially Compostable Items

Industrial facilities accept all home compostable items, as well as other materials such as:

  • PLA plastic
  • Molded fiber
  • Bamboo
  • Paper
  • Palm leaf
  • Wood

Use this map to find a composter near you, and check out the Biodegradable Products Institute to search for certified compostable products.

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