Do compostable products actually decompose, even in a landfill?

How quickly they decompose and how much is decomposed depends on the composting environment. If our products are buried in an approved Landfill, which is the most likely scenario given that NZ only has 11 Commercial Composting Facilities currently operating, it is impossible to state how long it would take our products to decompose and eventually become converted into compost (if they would at all). There is no way of knowing in advance what sort of composting conditions may exist in a landfill. If our products are buried close to other organic matter, and microbes exist in the right conditions, then they could biodegrade faster as the microbes are attracted to natural materials. If our products are buried alongside fossil-fuel based plastics it would take much longer as the microbes are not attracted to unnatural materials.

If the landfilled products do not convert into compost (which is essentially a fertiliser we want to use “above” the ground), they simply decompose into organic matter that will not harm our ecosystem (unlike fossil-fuel based products).

Our products are plant-based (organic matter), so it may help to consider what happens to an apple when left to decompose. Left indoors with no control (changes to temperature, humidity, air movement and the likely existence of bacteria), the apple may only stay edible for up to a week. It will start to rot and will eventually decompose, especially if temperatures increase. Left outdoors with no control (exposure to the elements, bacteria and animals), the apple may not last a couple of days. It will decompose and likely be completely eaten till nothing is left. If the apple is binned and sent to a landfill, the apple will eventually decompose into food matter. It may not become suitable as compost because the right temperature, humidity, air movement and bacteria conditions may not exist.

Nevertheless, it remains as decomposed food matter and will not harm our ecosystem. This is what happens to ValueCart products in a landfill. If the apple was placed in a controlled composting bin (higher controlled temperature, higher controlled humidity, higher controlled air movement and high levels of bacteria), then the apple will decompose and convert into compost (the residue has transformed into a material that is suitable for adding to the soil and plant nourishment). This is what happens to ValueCart products in a commercial composting facility.

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