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Biofoil home composting, foil 16. Day 93. The final.

homecomposting biofoils experiment part 8

After 93 days in a home compost barrel the material is almost completely composted.

I am testing the actual biodegradability of Lovechock’s certified home compostable biobased packaging foil in my backyard in Amsterdam. This is the last foil I take out of the compost barrel.

Day 93, foil 16

Wow! This foil is hidden well, way down in the compost. With a lot of effort I manage to get it out . It  is not much more than a small sticky ball. I also retrieve a small piece of the cardboard packaging of Lovechock. Almost entirely gone too. The cardboard material is also suitable for home composting, but it is better to recycle it into another paper product.

Cardboard Lovechock packaging after 93 days in home compost barrel.

Cardboard Lovechock packaging after 93 days in home compost barrel.

Then I decide to also take out the Albert Heijn foil that is made of PLA (poly lactic acid, a bioplastic that is usually made of corn starch). As I expected, this foil is still intact. Although PLA is made of renewable, natural resources and is biodegradable, it takes a higher temperature and more time to decompose. The compostable logo is still very well visible. That specific logo should instruct people that the material is suitable for professional (industrial) composting. I think it is a confusing logo.

PLA foil in home compost result after 93 days

PLA foil in home compost result after 93 days

Besides that, unfortunately the biodegradation time for PLA is too long for common industrial composting systems, so most of the time these foils are sifted out of the bio mass and burned after all. This is still better than burning conventional oil based plastic foils, but it would be much better to recycle PLA foils into new PLA material.

Back to my celluloid based foils! When I slowly soak off the compost from the remaining foil in a little bit of water, I see there is hardly anything left but a thin membrane. With my tweezers I retrieve the foil from the water. It is wafer-thin!

Biobased foil in home compost after 93 days. It is a celluloid based biofoil.

Biobased foil in home compost after 93 days. It is a celluloid based biofoil.

When the foils degrades more than this, there will be nothing more to see. When you compare it to the original foil it is best to see how much it has reduced in size and volume.

Celluloid based foil after 93 days in home compost barrel

Celluloid based foil after 93 days in home compost barrel

I take some more pictures, also with a microscopic camera (thanks Frank!). This also reassures me, you can see the texture and thickness of the material has totally changed.

biofoil in home compost results for celluloid based biofoil after 93 days in home compost barrel

This is it. I am convinced. This celluloid based foil is home compostable, even in my compost barrel in my shaded Amsterdam back yard!

Biodegradation of biobased foils in home compost over 93 days.

Biodegradation of the foils over a period of in 93 days in total.

 

Written by Jop Timmers

Jop is the founder of Design for Good, experienced product designer, innovation manager, author, sustainability expert, was trained as a C2C design consultant in 2009 and was a part time product design teacher for 9 years. He is passionate about sustainable and social innovation.

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