We are committed to providing the optimal solution to the plastic problem. While we realize that compostable bioplastics are no panacea, our products can be bought with a clear conscience knowing that we’ve done the research to make our products environmentally responsible and safe for you. Scientists, business leaders, and engineers are hard at work developing the ultimate solution for putting plastics behind us once and for all. When that occurs, we have a dedicated team with the ability to efficiently develop such a product and bring it to market.
Repurpose products are made from plants - which are annually renewable resources. Repurpose Compostables are currently produced from the annually renewable resource corn (maize), the lowest cost and most widely available fermentable sugar in the world, as well as sugarcane, eucalyptus, and wood scrap.
To produce Repurpose products, fewer fossil resources are required - which lowers the carbon footprint.
Our products fit into any waste management system with a benefit. At the end of their useful life, our products can be disposed of by all traditional waste management methods including landfills. However, our products are best disposed of when they can be composted in industrial composting facilities.
Our products are made from various renewable, plant-based materials that provide excellent quality, while allowing you to feel good about using them. We’ve ensured that our products are sustainably-sourced down to the tiniest detail—even our ink is vegetable-based.
Materials used include:
Plant fiber - Although plant fiber is commonly viewed as waste, we make our plates and bowls from a combination of sugarcane pulp, eucalyptus leaf, and wood scrap. We’re especially proud of our products made from plant fiber since each of the components would have otherwise ended up as waste, making it our most upcycled material.
PLA - We take carbon and other organic elements from corn grown in the USA and extract them into a polylactic acid (PLA) resin. Once in resin form, PLA is perfect for being molded into durable bioplastic products like our cups and cutlery.
Ecoflex - This durable material is composed of recycled polymers and is a welcome retreat from the petroleum-based material used in plastic bags. Ecoflex offers the best of both worlds by providing a strong and versatile bag that is also made with renewably-sourced components.
Yes! While some companies use wheat scrap as a renewable material, we provide a great option for those with gluten allergies by relying on other plants, such as corn, sugarcane, eucalyptus, and wood scrap.
Our packaging is not currently compostable for a few reasons. Primarily, we are not happy with the quality of compostable films at this point. In addition, compostable packaging would cost consumers 20-30% more, which does not align with our mission of offering consumers sustainable alternatives to plastic products at an affordable price. However, our packaging is made from recycled materials wherever possible and is also recyclable.
We recommend that our products be taken to an industrial/commercial compost facility, as we can rely on the repeatable standards of such sites. There’s currently no standard for home composting, so we can’t issue a blanket statement assuring all customers that our products will successfully break down in their home composting systems.
Some major cities including San Francisco, Portland, Boulder, and Seattle have curbside composting programs. Contact your local waste management service to see if your city is one of them and find more information on how to properly compost our products.
Here is a link with industrial composting sites across the nation
Here is a link to some independent businesses that specialize in compost pick-up
It is very important to dispose of our products in a responsible manner to make sure they do not reach waterways. When foreign material ends up in bodies of water, marine habitats are disrupted and wildlife is harmed.
If our products do end up in the ocean, PLA has been tested for marine degradation, and the results show that breakdown does occur, so our products will not contaminate the oceans forever like plastic. Additionally, fewer harmful chemicals leach from our products into the surrounding environment compared to plastic products. This is especially important when considering the phenomenon of biomagnification, which explains the increasing concentrations of toxic material up the food chain.
Again, personal responsibility is key when it comes to managing waste. We strongly encourage that our products are disposed of in industrial composting sites. A landfill does not fully realize the benefits of compostable products (yes, even our amazing products), so they will not break down in a landfill in a meaningful period of time. However, even if they do end up in a landfill, the carbon footprint is still reduced.
Relying on renewable resources instead of fossil fuels allows us to dramatically reduce our carbon footprint, because the manufacturing process of our Ingeo bioplastic products uses 65% less fossil fuel and emits 80-90% less greenhouse gases compared to that of traditional oil-based plastics. Additionally, bioplastics require 86% less water to manufacture.
Not only does the manufacturing process reduce our footprint, but the compostable nature of our products further reduces greenhouse gas emissions. By diverting waste from landfills, emissions associated with landfills—such as methane which has a global warming potential (GWP) 25x that of CO2—are greatly decreased. Additionally, the composting process goes full circle, helping us repeat the manufacturing process using plants and not oil.
Ultimately, weaning ourselves off fossil fuels will contribute to a greatly reduced footprint moving forward.
Even if composting creates too much of a burden, the benefits of our products are not limited to their compostability. We believe our products offer the best available solution. The decreased carbon footprint, water use, and non-toxic nature of our products sets us apart from plastic, and purchasing our products is a great way to invest in a healthier and happier future!
Plant-based products don’t mix well with the PET products that comprise most other recycled material, which can make it difficult to sort and complicate the plant’s operations. However, the larger problem is that there is not yet enough demand for recycled bioplastics, so even if our products are recycled, they will typically end up in a landfill.
The Biodegradable Products Institute is a nonprofit organization that acts as a third-party to ensure the validity of the compostability of certain materials based on previously-acquired ASTM standards. Products with a BPI label have been thoroughly vetted and determined to be completely compostable.
ASTM D6400: Standard Specification for Labeling of Plastics Designed to be Aerobically Composted in Municipal or Industrial Facilities
The American Society for Testing and Materials tests the performance of materials that make up consumer products. The D6400 certification requires the rate of compostability to meet or exceed 60% of total biodegradation occurring within 180 days in a lab setting.
ASTM D6868: Standard Specification for Labeling of End Items that Incorporate Plastics and Polymers as Coatings or Additives with Paper and Other Substrates Designed to be Aerobically Composted in Municipal or Industrial Facilities
To achieve ASTM D6868 certification, our products must meet three conditions: 1) break down into carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass at a rate consistent with paper; 2) decompose so that plastic is not visually distinguishable; and 3) leave no toxic residue.
The United States Department of Agriculture is a third-party organization that oversees organic produce. In general, to achieve USDA certification, we prove that our products: 1) protect natural resources; 2) conserve biodiversity; and 3) use only approved substances.
Besides the peace of mind that comes with saving the environment and leading a more sustainable life, our products are safer than plastic. Bisphenol A (BPA) is commonly found in plastics and acts as an endocrine disruptor. Contained in everything from food wrappers to baby products, BPA is a serious health risk, especially for children. Since our products are sourced from plants, we can proudly say that they are BPA-free!
For those with allergies, our products will be a breath of fresh air. All of our products are chlorine-free, wheat-free, gluten-free, and soy-free. We’ve done extensive research to make our products safe so you don’t have to.
Definitely! We are big on reusing and encourage that rather than purchasing more product. Some of our products are designed to withstand high heat, but we recommend washing our cups and utensils by hand since we cannot guarantee your dishwasher runs at a temperature within the acceptable range.
While some of our materials are designed to handle high heat, we do not recommend putting them through the microwave due to a few factors, namely different microwave models, wattage, and time spent in the microwave. We always recommend being extra cautious and heating up your food and drinks in microwave-safe glass or ceramic containers and then transferring to our products.
Our products require very specific conditions (microorganisms, certain temperatures, and moisture) to begin the composting process, so they will not break down if stored for long periods. Always check products for any applicable expiration dates.
The resin stream of corn is comprised of a combination of GMO and non-GMO corn. While we do not control this stream, we are aware of concerns surrounding GMO products, so we have taken the further step of participating in a GMO offsetting program called Working Landscapes, which results in a net increase of non-GMO plants. See more here: http://workinglandscapesnc.org/.
Our products are all currently manufactured in Asia (mostly in Taiwan and some in China), which allows us to keep our prices competitive. We are formulating a cost-effective strategy to shift the manufacturing process to the United States.
On average, our product price is comparable to other premium plastic products in the category. Some, such as bowls and plates, even cost less than the market average.
Composting is the process of transforming organic waste into a rich soil material through natural processes. This material is called humus—not to be confused with the delicious chickpea mash—and it can have wonderful benefits when used as a natural fertilizer.
Composting happens because of the activity of aerobic microorganisms, which greatly enhance the decomposition process, when certain conditions are met. Such conditions (oxygen-rich and moist environment) facilitate the process, which not only diverts waste from the landfill, but also directly enhances the health of the environment.
Based on our certifications, you can count on our products being completely composted in a commercial facility within 90-180 days.
Recent studies have shown that most of the material we recycle ends up in landfills anyways. Due to geopolitical reasons and the sheer volume of waste produced, recycling does not solve all of our waste diversion needs.
That’s where we come in! Composting offers a closed-loop solution for single-use products and helps ease the burden carried by recycling plants. When done correctly, composting generates no waste and also helps contribute to the production of more bio-based products.
There is a very important distinction between these two words, which many people incorrectly believe to be synonymous. Biodegradable simply means that disintegration will occur, without specifying a time period, so any material is technically biodegradable on a certain time scale. Companies often use this term to confuse consumers, and it is now illegal to label a product as “biodegradable” in California. On the other hand, compostable materials must degrade at a certain rate into a nutrient-rich substance to earn certifications, so compostability is a legitimate means of measuring a product’s end-of-life impact on the environment. All of our products are certified as compostable.
BPA stands for Bisphenol A. BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. BPA is found in plastics that store food and beverages, such as water bottles, baby bottles, and other plastic containers.
BPA is an endocrine disruptor — a substance that interferes with the production, secretion, transport, action, and function of natural hormones. BPA can imitate our body’s own hormones in a way that could be hazardous for health. Babies and young children are said to be especially sensitive to the effects of BPA.
Research has shown that BPA can seep into food or beverages from containers that are made with BPA. Exposure to BPA is a concern because of possible health effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland of fetuses, infants, and children.
The amount of farmland required for bioplastics is proportionally quite small. It comprises less than 0.05% of the total global agricultural area.
We ensure our corn-based bioplastics don’t affect the food supply because the type of corn we rely on (Yellow Dent #2) is a non-food-grade type of corn engineered specifically for bioplastics and biofuels.