Biofoil home composting, foil 1-4. Day 1-19. First results.

I’m checking the home compostability of Lovechock’s celluloid based packaging foil in my own backyard in Amsterdam. The foil is made by Innovia Films.

Checking the home compostability of celluloid based packaging foils.

Eating myself through 20 bars of lovely Lovechock chocolate, to get 20 foils for the test.

20 Lovechock foils are carefully placed inside my compost barrel. The chocolate I ate… wow it’s good!

For comparison I have also placed a foil made of biobased plastic PLA (polylactic acid). I know that PLA is compostable in a professional composting installation only, but I want to see for myself if the home compostable celluloid foil is better for composting indeed.

Compostability check biofoils by Jop Timmers

Each rope is attached to one celluloid based foil of Lovechock. The PLA based foil of AH is inserted as a reference, not expecting it to degrade in a home composting barrel.

The temperature inside is around 30 degrees Celsius.

Day 5, foil 1

Every week I take out a single foil and make a close-up picture. This is the first foil that was taken out after 5 days.

First biofoil taken out of home composting test.

The first foil, after 5 days of being inserted in a home composting barrel.

It already feels damp and a little bit sticky.

Day 7, foil 2

It has been warm today and also the previous days. When I reach for the ropes, I feel the heat radiating from the compost. It is definitely working properly. Every day I add quite some green waste so I have to take out the foil with care.

It feels good, the foil is warm and feels softer than before. I pull at the foil and a part tears off easily. This is promising.

Foil 2 of home composting test, after 7 days.

This is the second celluloid based foil taken out of the home composting test after 7 days.

Day 10, foil 3

Temperatures have been great the previous days. Taking out another foil, I notice composting has really set off now. The heap is warm and quite moist. The foil is too.

It feels as if it has lost its strength, kind of weak. Still I cannot actually see whether the foil has become thinner. I fear destroying it, so I don’t stretch it too much. After taking pictures I place the foil in a plastic bag to store it properly. The bag immediately turns misty from the moist of the foil.

Biofoil number 3 taken out of home composting test.

This is the third celluloid based foil taken out of the home composting test after 10 days.

Day 19, foil 4

I just came back from a short holiday and rush to my experiment. When I open up the barrel, the heat radiates towards me, as well as numerous little flies. It has been brewing inside!

I pick one of the ropes, and pull it. There is some resistance at first and then I hold the rope loosely in my hand… Can it be that the foil has already degraded completely?

I try another one and the same happens. Then I notice the rope itself has degraded. Mmm, not so smart: using natural rope to tie the foils inside a home compost barrel…

With a small spade I manage to get a foil out. There are lots of ants on it, as well as larvae.

Biofoil number 4 of the home composting test, full of ants and larvae.

Taking out this foil was difficult as the ropes had degraded, it was also covered with ants and larvae.

The foil is still in one piece, but it is pretty yellow and it feels rather soft. I’ll probably wind up replacing all the ropes with wire. Should have done so in the first place, obviously…

Biofoil number 4, taken out of the home composting test after 19 days.

The fourth celluloid based foil taken out of the home composting test after 19 days.

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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