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Laura McNamara

June 2, 2023

Waste 101: Sustainable Material Disposal Made Easy

Your guide to eco-friendly waste disposal

According to California’s Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, packaging makes up about 25% of waste that is landfilled in California. With similar statistics across the rest of the United States- the implementation of proper disposal practices is vital to reduce annual levels of climate pollution nationwide.

Buying sustainable products is only the first step towards a greener future; properly disposing of these different materials plays a vital role in ensurning their positive impact. Many recyclable products end up in landfills due to excess residue (food scraps, oils, etc.) - a quick rinse before disposing any recyclable material can make all the difference! The following guide will simplify how to properly dispose of the various sustainable materials offered by This Element.

Table of Contents

  • Bagasse
  • Wood
  • Cornstarch 
  • Paper
  • Thermoplastics
  • Additional Resources


Bagasse is an organic by-product of the processing of sugarcane to extract its juice. Our bagasse products are biodegradable and commercially compostable; they can be disposed of in your organic waste collection. It is important that bagasse products go to a commercial composting facility to be fully broken down.


Made from natural and renewable resources, our wooden cutlery is biodegradable and compostable. There are a few options for how to properly dispose of these products based on what works best for you. They can go into the recycle bin or organic waste collection to be commercially composted.


Cornstarch products are an eco-friendly alternative to regular plastics. They are compostable in an industrial facility and can be disposed of in your organic waste collection. It is important that cornstarch products are not recycled as they can contaminate plastics that are otherwise recyclable - making them unusable. 


Paper products can be recycled or composted depending on their condition. When soiled with oils or food scraps, they must be disposed of in your organic waste collection to be composted.

Clean paper products can be recycled with certain linings. This Element has 3 lining options to prevent leaking: aqueous, PLA, and PE. Aqueous (a water-based coating) and PE (polyethylene plastic) can be washed off with a quick rinse before recycling. Paper products with PLA coating must be disposed with organic waste to be composted. 


Thermoplastics can be melted and reconstructed countless times without diminishing their quality. PET, PLA, and PP thermoplastics contain different chemical compounds and should be disposed of accordingly. All plastics must be properly rinsed before disposing, no matter which bin they end up in. No soap or scrubbing is necessary, a quick rinse with water is all that is needed!

PET Plastic (Polyethylene terephthalate)

PET is a recyclable, durable, and lightweight plastic. It is a popular choice for cold cups and food packaging, making it one of the most commonly recycled plastics in the United States. 

PLA Plastic (Polylactic acid)

PLA plastic is produced using cornstarch and is 100% compostable. PLA products should be disposed in your organic waste collection. 

PP Plastic (Polypropylene)

PP plastic should be recycled. This thermoplastic is noted for its high temperature resistence and rigidity making it a popular choice for producing food containers.

Being mindful of where our waste is disposed can divert materials from landfills, conserve energy, and reduce climate pollution. With waste regulations varying from state to state, it is best to stay up to date with your local government legislation and waste management regulations. Visit to search for regulations by zip code, city, or state.

Every action counts, and proper waste disposal practices can help to create a ripple effect that reaches far beyond our own households and businesses. Thank you for joining us in working towards a greener future!

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