qué es compostable

Compostable, recyclable, reusable, sustainable? The vocabulary surrounding packaging has evolved at a frenetic pace in recent years. Therefore, knowing the different terms will provide us with the necessary information to make conscious, responsible and informed purchasing decisions.

What does compostable mean?

A compostable material can be biologically decomposed by the action of organisms, generating water, biomass and carbon dioxide in a given period of time. This time depends on different factors:

  • What are the decomposing organisms.
  • Temperature.
  • Humidity.

This process is 100% natural and takes place normally in nature, giving rise to humus, which helps to maintain the balance of any ecosystem.

When is it considered a compostable material: standards?

In order to unify criteria and to be able to have a solid standard, the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) prepared the standard EN1342. Entitled “Packaging. Requirements for compostable and biodegradable packaging. Test program and evaluation criteria for the final acceptance of the packaging”, it sets out the criteria for a material to be considered compostable:

  • 90% of the mass must biodegrade in less than 6 months.
  • After 12 weeks, it must be completely fragmented into particles of a size of less than 2 square millimeters.
  • Do not exceed the maximum ecotoxicity level of humus.
  • Not contain heavy metals.

Are some materials more compostable than others?

There are no materials that are more compostable than others. There are simply materials that can be compostable and others that are not. We must distinguish, therefore, between biodegradable and compostable.

Difference between homemade compost and industrial compost

Homemade compost: it is made with a domestic composter. The process is much slower, as it is carried out at home.

Industrial compost: it is carried out in special composting plants. They have a great diversity and a higher load of microorganisms. They increase the efficiency of the process and reduce biodegradation times.

However, we must bear in mind that not all compostable products can be composted at home and, therefore, it will be necessary to have an industrial composter.

Uses and benefits of compost

Uses of compost

  • Substrate and support in large areas.
  • Plantations.
  • Improve the health of our lands.
  • Fertilization of meadows.
  • Recovery of impoverished soils

Benefits of compost

  • Improvement of soil structure.
  • Bactericidal and fungicidal effect.
  • High quality fertilizer for plants and trees.

Learn much more about other related terms in our Hotel and Catering Dictionary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does compostable mean?

A compostable material can be biologically decomposed by the action of organisms, generating water, biomass and carbon dioxide over a given period of time.

What types of compost are there?

We can find homemade compost and industrial compost.

What is the difference between home compost and industrial compost?

Home compost is made with a home composter, whereas industrial compost is made in special composting plants.

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