Composting

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Geoff
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Composting

Postby Geoff » Thu Nov 14, 2019 8:18 am

We've had various chats on composting but I couldn't find a dedicated thread.

Found this after it was mentioned on the science programme on radio 4 https://www.bigcompostexperiment.org.uk/

I did the survey and told them how and what I composted and then I intended to join their experiment but I had a bit of a problem. Here is the introduction to the experiment:

Select the type and quantity of biodegradable plastic item(s) from our list that you would like to test. Please only select examples that display the following manufacturer information:

’compostable’ (only)
‘home biodegradable’
‘home compostable’
‘suitable for home composting’
TUV OK Compost ‘HOME’ label


We don't seem to buy anything that has labels like this on them. The only thing I can remember seeing is a magazine wrapper (not sure if it is RHS or NT) but I just shred that like any other paper.

Anybody know of any examples?
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Primrose
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Re: Composting

Postby Primrose » Thu Nov 14, 2019 10:30 am

Interesting question Geoff because now I come to think of it - and I confess I don't inspect all our domestic packaging particularly closely for recycling instructions, I can't recall seeing any such classifications as you describe.

We do get certain biodegradeable bags from Waitrose now for certain food wrappings which say they can be home compostable, and the outer wrappers from the National Trust publications we receive are marked as compostable, so we do put these two items on our compost heap, but most of the other food plastic wrappings simply go into our general rubbish bin.

I will inspect wrappings more closely in future. I would expect this labelling to become more widely available as the Environmental movement progresses, but I expect that it will be a fairly slow and gradual process as obviously the lead time for supermarkets to research and change their packaging methods is not necessarily a short one.

We are buying slightly more small items online now, for convenience as so many of our local High Street stores are closing, and all the cardboard packs in which they're packaged are composted, but the packs never seem to have any recycling or composting instructions on them.

With gardens getting smaller, I suspect that although many more people might be keen to compost items, there's often little spare space in new suburban gardens for a reasonable size compost bin, let alone two of them, which would be better.
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Re: Composting

Postby Stephen » Thu Nov 14, 2019 5:39 pm

Hi Geoff
Thank you for the link. I completed the survey but didn't opt into the experiment.
I criticised several of their questions. In my opinion, "biodegradable" is a weasel word as the material is still plastic even when it is broken down into small particles. Similarly, teabags are pretty much non-compostable - either they are stuck together with glue or they are a non-woven fabric (often described as bio-polymer) and are still visibly present a year or more later. Remember a teabag is supposed to stay together in boiling water so is tough. On the other hand, coffee grounds from the cafetiere or the moka express are wonderful. It can be worth collecting coffee grounds from elsewhere (I'm not sure the worms like coffe grounds however).
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Re: Composting

Postby Monika » Thu Nov 14, 2019 7:17 pm

Some 'compostable' wrappers actually state that they are made of rice starch - those I put into our own compost bin. Others, stated to be compostable, I put into the council garden rubbish bin because our own bin doesn't get hot enough to rot them down.
I empty the tea bags after use: tea into the compost, empty bags into the ordinary rubbish because, as Stephen says, they don't break down in the compost.
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Re: Composting

Postby Westi » Thu Nov 14, 2019 7:51 pm

It is all so confusing! Only yesterday I got a package from 'A' with the plastic pillows to protect the contents. (Not breakable contents). It's the first time I noted the very pale green recycling sign on them. It's a big leap from recyclable to compostable though, & I find it hard to believe it is even recyclable. What agency is responsible for monitoring these claims? I'm not willing to contaminate my compost with anything - too precious & it gets stuff in it unintentionally anyway. Dog's tennis balls to date are not compostable - dirty but pretty intact after a couple of years!
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Re: Composting

Postby Colin2016 » Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:26 am

A lot of the terms are very misleading and to me are meaningless.

I have 4 compost bays on the go, using tea bags have not been a problem, was in the darlek type but not in my hot ones.

I assume plants do not consume plastic so wonder if this is a major issue for veg growing.

The suppliers should be more proactive if they want me to change my ways, I go to local farm shop where I am given an option of paper bag or plastic not so in supermarket, plastic or more plastic.

Had a rare visit to Sainsbury’s and was impressed with their card board alternative to prepacked plastic. First time I have every seen a sign saying they are happy to fill own pots with produce. Not happening in my local supermarket, it going more prepacked in plastic.

On a side note have you noticed how unsightly supermarkets are becoming due to bins for different recycled packaging (crisps packets) products?

Westi "dirty but pretty intact after a couple of years!" takes my dog half hour to destroy hers.
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Re: Composting

Postby Primrose » Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:51 am

I can confirm that after a couple of years a pair of lost seccateurs and a Victorinox potato peeler are definitely not compostable !
The jury is still out on a missing Sabatier vegetable knife which disappeared without trace some months ago !
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Re: Composting

Postby Westi » Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:14 pm

Oh Primrose I do hope I find my potato peeler next year! It's a fave!

I was moaning about my compost today as having to buy in compost for bed top ups as using pallet compost bins on the plot built for me by my lovely & helpful neighbour, but I think they are too big as 2 pallets long! Hard to cover to keep hot enough to kill weed seeds & too deep to keep it loose & lovely as due to the depth & weight it is compacted! I prefer my plastic ones at home & wish I had just bought more from the council for the allotment.

Oh well just got to clear 2 big pallet compost bins & put the contents somewhere off the plot & then I will have a proper chance to take advantage of my own compost. Kind of regretting the new house builds behind the plot are not coming just yet as that would be a solution but farmer has sowed the field so still a way off probably!
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Re: Composting

Postby Stephen » Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:05 pm

Primrose wrote:I can confirm that after a couple of years a pair of lost seccateurs and a Victorinox potato peeler are definitely not compostable !
The jury is still out on a missing Sabatier vegetable knife which disappeared without trace some months ago !

:lol: to the first and on the second, I just hope it turns up in an unincriminating place! :P
Last edited by Stephen on Sat Nov 16, 2019 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Composting

Postby Stephen » Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:09 pm

On the plot I have a pallet lined bin and several daleks. I built the former to see if results improved on the daleks. Yet to reach an opinion on that.
At home a remarkably small open heap full of cardboard, coffee grounds, peelings and offcuts (possibly in that order!) which is going well, inasmuch as it isn't getting bigger.
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Geoff
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Re: Composting

Postby Geoff » Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:42 pm

Never had any trouble finding intact tea bags in the compost, spread a couple of barrow loads yesterday and just been to look and there is no sign.
Am considering going back to leaf tea anyway but it also means going back to a main supermarket as the discounters don't sell it (will have to anyway as wholemeal strong bread flour has disappeared from them both at about the same time). Saves a little money as well. 120 teabags labelled 375g (don't know if that means tea content) are £2.49 whereas 250g leaf tea is £1.29 and I think you use less.
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Geoff
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Re: Composting

Postby Geoff » Fri Dec 13, 2019 10:10 am

Plenty of shredding to go in the compost heap this week.
Last edited by Geoff on Sat Dec 14, 2019 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Composting

Postby Colin2016 » Sat Dec 14, 2019 9:17 am

Guess I will be looking for an alternative paper source now election is over.
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Re: Composting

Postby Carolcarrot » Thu Feb 27, 2020 3:11 am

I can agree with the thoughts about tea bags! I'm using ground coffee, which remains in my espresso machine after making some cups of coffee. It's really useful, but there is one problem, it takes too much time to collect lots of coffee from a home coffee machine. Anyway, it's much more better than use tea bags.
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Re: Composting

Postby Colin2016 » Thu Feb 27, 2020 8:33 am

I see there are coffee bags now, what happened to instant coffee?
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