What are Compostable Wares


What is Compostable Food Service Ware?

Compostable food service ware is a category of single-use disposable food service ware items such as cups, bowls, plates, trays, clamshells, fork, spoons, knives and straws that are manufactured from materials that degrade rapidly and safely into a valuable soil-like material when these items are sen tot a commercial or municipal composting facility along with other compostable materials such as food scraps and yard waste.


What are the benefits of using Compostbale Service Ware?

Compostables help reduce food waste going to landfills and incinerators.
Compostables eliminate the use of pteroleum-based food service ware products.


What types of Compostable Food Service Ware Products are readily available?

Compostable service ware products  can be made from paper or other plant - based fibers such as  sugar cane (bagasse), wh eat straw, bamboo  or palm fiber , wood , or compostable plastic resins.  Compostable plastic resins are most commonly biobased; this means they are made from plant - based materials such as corn or potato starch, soybean protein , or cellulose. These materials are  converted into  plastic polymers such as polylactic acid (PLA) that have similar propertie s to  petroleum - based plastics.  It is important to note, however, that not all compostable plastics are made of plant - based  materials.  Some are derived from pe troleum, which is a  finite, non renewable resource.  These  products should be avoided. Biobased, c ompostable food service  products typicall y fall into four categories:

  • Cutlery  (e.g., knives, forks, spoons , and “sporks”)
  • Food service ware (e.g., plates, bowls, cups, etc.)
  • Take - out containers (e.g., boxes, clamshells , and other types of containers and lids)
  • Other items (e.g., straws, food service gloves, bags, etc.)

How does the cost of Compostable Food Service Ware compare to conventional products?

The cost of compostable food service ware is expected to be higher than conventional disposable  food service ware, especially polystyrene products. Some compostable products are less costly than  others. Because many compostable products are new to the market, their costs may well fall when  their sal es and production volumes increase. While there are ways to drive costs down through  centralized and cooperative purchasing methods, the biggest opportunity for cost savings is related  to avoided waste disposal costs, which are realized when composting ser vices cost less than landfill  disposal.  At the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Oregon, composting cost less than half of landfill  disposal costs. Because purchasers may be removed from disposal and compost arrangements,  determining the savings may require c ollaboration with other agencies or a state sustainability  department