FAQ

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  • landscape
    What is a "compostable" product?
    A “compostable” product is any solid material that can be placed into a composition of decaying biodegradable materials and in a safe and timely manner turns into a nutrient-rich material called humus.
  • landscape
    What is the difference between "industrial” or “commercial” compostable and “home” compostable?
    The difference involves time, temperature, and turning. It also involves the type of vessel used in composting. The composting standard is set by a government-mandated test: ASTMD6400 for materials and ASTMD6868 for films and coatings. Industrial composting can be accomplished more rapidly than ordinary home composting.
  • landscape
    So is industrial/commercial composting better?
    It is more effective. In an industrial composting facility there is regular turning of the organic material. Moisture and temperatures are monitored during the composting process, achieving over 55 degrees Celsius for a consistent period of time. This allows certain materials to break down better and faster. Industrial composting kills potentially harmful bacteria from foods such as meat, dairy, and cooked foods that are not recommended for home compost situations. (from Earthcycle)
  • landscape
    How long does it take Single Use Solutions' containers to compost completely?
    Tests on the BMD conducted by Single Use Solutions indicate that it can completely degrade food scraps within 24-48 hours. Further testing that includes adding Single Use Solutions bottles to the mixture are underway.
  • landscape
    But home composting is still okay?
    ANY compostable product, including grass clippings, will not go away as quickly at home as in industrial composting situations, but it is still compostable. Home composting is an ideal way to “recycle” organic items into useful carbon-rich humus that can be used as fertilizer. Regular turning of the organic material accelerates the compost process.
  • landscape
    What is “biodegradable?”
    Biodegradable products break down through the action of naturally occurring microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, etc., over a period of time. Biodegradable products are usually made from plant or animal sources. According to the US Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Green Guides, a “degradable” item must completely break down and return to nature (i.e., decompose into elements found in nature) within a reasonably short period of time after customary disposal.
  • landscape
    What is the difference between “compostable” and “biodegradable?”
    “Compostable” means something specific and its definition is tightly controlled by international standards. “Biodegradable” has a somewhat looser definition. For marketing purposes to be considered degradable by the FTC, items entering the solid waste stream must completely decompose within one year after customary disposal.

  • landscape
    What are compostable “bio-plastics” made of?
    Compostable bio-plastics are, by definition, derived from renewable biomass materials like starch (e.g. corn, potatoe,sugarcane, tapioca etc), cellulose, soy protein, lactic acid, etc. Unfortunately, the term “bio-plastics” is widely misused by companies whose products are not 100% derived from organic material.
  • landscape
    Are Single Use Solutions bottles, caps, and labels compostable?
    Yes. The resins in Single Use Solutions' containers exceed the ASTMD6400 standards for “compostable” mentioned above, as well as the European standard. In addition, Single Use Solutions containers can compost at home although the process is much slower than with industrial composting. The decomposition process is aided by grinding the material into smaller pieces.
  • landscape
    What are Single Use Solutions bottles made of?
    Our bottles are made from PLA, a non-GMO sugarcane-based material.
  • landscape
    What is PLA?
    PLA stands for polylactic acid and is the chemical name of a bio-plastic made from corn starch, sugarcane, or other related plant materials. It has the look and feel of petroleum-based plastic.
  • landscape
    How long will the PLA take to decompose or compost?
    To be certified compostable by ASTM, material is required to degrade within 84 days in a commercial composting facility.. In recent compost testing Single Use Solutions containers have broken down even more quickly.
  • landscape
    Why must Single Use Solutions containers be segregated from ordinary recycling items such as PET plastic bottles?
    Because petroleum-based resin and plant-based resin do not mix well in the recycle stream. This has been one of the arguments against plant-based packaging. If large amounts of plant-based resins are mixed together with the petroleum plastic, it can harm the future use of the recycled plastic That is why Single Use Solutions is utilized only in “closed-loop” venues. It is then possible to collect 90% of the bottles 90% of the time. Single Use Solutions containers can be picked up and taken to a composting facility or be placed along with food scraps in a Single Use Solutions “Bottle Model Digester”. They must not be sent to a recycling facility.

  • landscape
    What if I throw Single Use Solutions containers into the trash?
    Single Use Solutions products are intended to stay out of landfills. If thrown into the trash they will likely end up in a landfill. Many landfills are sealed, which means little biodegradation occurs below the surface. No matter the material, even if compostable, what is thrown away and delivered to a landfill may not degrade for a long time.
  • landscape
    Will products made from PLA degrade in landfills?
    The low oxygen concentration and low temperatures in the unnatural environment of landfills retard molecular weight loss, preventing the biopolymers from becoming degradable.  Eventually, bio-plastics such as PLA will degrade, but the process will likely be slow, although far superior to petroleum-based plastics that never go away.
  • landscape
    Why can’t compostable water bottles be offered in retail settings so more people could buy them?
    It is all a matter of making sure of a safer “after-life” for most of the empty containers. Plant-based, compostable containers should not be placed within the normal “plastics” re-cycle stream where it can become a contaminant to the re-cycle process. Single Use Solutions containers are best captured at the point of use. Thus, “closed-loop” venues, where food products are served and consumed on-site and the waste stream includes food-scraps, compostable utensils, and containers, are turned into effluent.
  • landscape
    Don’t some communities have a separate waste pick-up system for compostables?
    Some countries are well advanced in offering municipal pick-up of compostables, just like normal trash collection. Municipal pick-up of compostables is still rare in the United States. In recent years, however, the number of pick-up services operated by private companies has skyrocketed. This allows options for people who want to compost but lack space to support home composting.
  • landscape
    How would Single Use Solutions “empties” be collected at a closed loop venue?
    Empties can be collected in two basic ways. Consumers could place empty containers in clearly marked “BIG BOTTLES" offered by Single Use Solutions at the exit points of each venue. Empty containers can also be mixed directly among ordinary food scraps. In both cases, the containers can then be sent to an industrial compost facility with the other food waste or they can be processed on-site by a “Bottle Model Digester”. The digester grinds up the bottles and the grindings are added with the waste food on site. All of the material converts to water and goes down the drain. In certain situations where water can be used as irrigation and/or fertilizer, the effluent.
  • landscape
    Can Single Use Solutions containers be safely incinerated?
    Yes. The resins in Single Use Solutions containers are suitable for incineration. Unlike PET containers, when incinerated, Single Use Solutions containers do not emit fumes any more toxic than from the incineration of plants.. The BTUs are similar to the burning of hardwood.
  • landscape
    What if Single Use Solutions containers end up in the environment, for example, along a roadside?
    Since there is no organic companion for the bottles in an open environment, they may remain for as much as several years. Heat and other factors will eventually break down the container, but it will not be swift. Empty bottles need to be mixed with organisms that will “eat them up”.
  • landscape
    What if Single Use Solutions containers end up in a stream, lake, or the ocean?
    While this is not a good ending for Single Use Solutions containers, the hope is that the bottles will, unlike hydrocarbon-based products, disintegrate into smaller, softer pieces. If sea creatures consume small pieces of Single Use Solutions containers, most creatures’ digestive systems will absorb the pieces and swim away with a “high-fiber” diet. That is generally not a death sentence compared to petroleum-based plastics.
  • landscape
    Why do so few companies offer plant-based packaging?
    Until recently, the recycling industry along with the petrochemical industry which produces plastics, have opposed the introduction of such packaging. Recyclers have a legitimate concern that plant-based materials not be mixed with petroleum-based recyclables. Thus, Single Use Solutions insists that consumers of its products have the capability and intention to keep its product completely out of normal recycling streams.
  • landscape
    What is the Resin Identification Code (a design of arrows in a triangular shape containing a number in the center and an abbreviation identifying the component plastic resin) for PLA and other Single Use Solutions materials?
    Currently, the SPI resin identification code 7 ("others") is applicable for all Single Use Solutions components, including bottles, caps, and labels.
  • landscape
    Is composting recycling?
    The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers composting a form of recycling because it turns resources into a usable product.