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, clam shells, fork, spoons, knives and straws. They are manufactured from materials that degrade rapidly and safely into a valuable soil-like material when these items are sent to a commercial or municipal composting facility along with other compostable materials.

What are the benefits of using Compostable Service Ware?

  • Compostables help reduce food waste going to landfills and incinerators.
  • Compostables eliminate the use of petroleum-based food service ware products.
  • Compostables create valuable natural mulch for gardens and farms.

These are just a few of the excellent ways in which switching from single-use plastics to compostable service ware can benefit the environment and make composting easy.

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), wheat straw, bamboo or palm fiber, wood, or compostable plastic resins. Compostable plastic resins are most commonly bio-based; which 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 poly-lactic acid (PLA) that have similar properties to petroleum-based plastics.

Bio-based, compostable food service products typically 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.)

Just think of how much waste you can divert from landfills by using and providing compostable service-ware to your customers or company.

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

There aren’t many options for compostable service ware on the market today, which means you can expect the cost to be slightly higher than traditional, single-use plastic service ware, but it’s more than worth it. As we continue to ramp up composting resources and facilities, we’ll see more competing companies emerge, and costs will likely go down, but do some research to find the right compostable service ware company to fit your needs.

And don’t worry about the savings. When you work to create a compost-centric company or business, you can save a lot of money on waste disposal costs, so start making changes today!