Disposable food containers have led to a zero-waste movement, but nixing plastic straws and cups doesn’t necessarily mean sustainability
While many have pinned their hopes on these alternatives, some researchers and recyclers caution that an over-reliance on compostable tableware and packaging may not be the solution it’s cracked up to be. In life cycle assessments, it turns out, compostables don’t necessarily outshine plastics when it comes to environmental benefits. And an increase in compostables in the waste stream could, in fact, bungle up the composting process, create more trash, and continue consumers’ addiction to single-use items, detracting from the most environmentally beneficial practices: reducing and reusing.
The main problem is contamination, as consumers often throw in non-compostable look-alike items into their bins. Removing this trash increases the use of water, energy, and other resources and drives up operating costs, said Hoeck with Rexius, one of the signatories of the letter — Gosia Wozniacka/@verge