FAQ's - Our Products


Are your hot cups and soup cups recyclable?
Today, very few communities recycle paper hot cups of any type. This is because separating the cups’ film lining from the paper can be difficult and because food contamination can decrease the value of the material.

Hot cups in our GreenStripe® line (i.e., GreenStripe, WorldArt, Slate, This Is Why) are made with renewable resources. These cups are made with paper from trees harvested in North America; they are lined with Ingeo™ biobased plastic, made from corn grown in the U.S. They are certified to be commercially composted after use. If you are not lucky enough to have a commercial composter in your area, these cups should be sent to the landfill.

Hot cups in our BlueStripe™ line (i.e., BlueStripe, Evolution World) are made with post-consumer paper fiber and a polyethylene lining. To our knowledge, our 24% post-consumer fiber is the highest percentage of post-consumer material in this type of cup! These cups are not compostable, and because of the challenges mentioned above with recycling paper hot cups, they are not recyclable in most communities either. Eco-Products is participating in industry initiatives aiming to increase the recyclability of hot cups and other foodservice packaging. We hope that one day soon, diverting these products from the landfill will be the norm and not the exception.


Ingeo

Will Ingeo™ melt in extreme heat?
Yes. We recommend that our Ingeo containers be stored at temperatures less than 105°F (40°C). Remember to keep these products out of direct sunlight and in a cool, dry place. Keep in mind that our Plantware™ cutlery is made with a slightly different process that gives it a heat tolerance of about 200°F (93°C). If you need a solution for high heat items, check out our recycled-content products. For more please visit Smart Care of Ingeo biopolymer.

Do compostable products break down when put into the soil, water, left outside, or stored on shelves?
Our compostable products are made from sugarcane and Ingeo, both of which break down best in commercial compost facilities only. Soil and water are relatively cold environments that do not allow Ingeo to become biodegradable and break down. The compost process itself starts the biodegradation for Ingeo itself. Paper and bagasse also compost best in this scenario.

Retail shelves similarly do not provide an environment with the right composting conditions for these products to break down, so these maintain their integrity until they interact with composting microorganisms.

Learn more directly from our Ingeo manufacturer NatureWorks http://www.natureworksllc.com/FAQs

Do compostable products breakdown in landfills?
Compostable items are designed to be composted in a compost heap only. Composting is a very specific process which does not occur in landfills, out in the open, or in water systems. Microorganisms, carbon, water, oxygen and nitrogen are all essential parts of the compost process and these factors need to be present in the right circumstances (such as in a compost pile) for composting to occur.

If compostable products are placed in an open landfill or dump where oxygen is available, they will decompose at a rate similar to other biodegradable materials in the same setting. If compostable products are placed in the more common anaerobic (air-locked or capped) landfill and deprived of oxygen and micro-organisms, then the ability of the compostable products to decompose will be severely restricted. This is true of all biodegradable materials placed in this setting, including paper, yard waste and food waste.

As a consumer, you should be skeptical of any manufacturer making claims that their products will biodegrade quickly in an air-locked landfill. Eco-Products clearly labels and certifies all our compostable products to help consumers and composters alike.

Do compostable products make methane if they go into landfills?
In a capped landfill (the most common type of landfill in the US), our products and most plastics will remain stable and not be a significant contributor to methane emissions as far as we know. Compostable Ingeo plastic breaks down in aerobic composting scenarios best, and composting is not a significant source of methane. Composting is a specific aerobic (oxygen rich) process which occurs in compost piles only, not inside sealed anaerobic (oxygen deprived) landfills. Other bioplastics have shown different results in landfills, and some bioplastics are being engineered to behave differently in landfills. Eco-Products uses Ingeo plastic exclusively in our compostable products, and it is tested and clearly marked for commercial compost.

Methane in landfills results from organic materials that end up in anaerobic (air-locked or capped) landfills and are deprived of oxygen and micro-organisms. Over long periods of time, organic material slowly degrades anaerobically resulting in the creation of methane gas. Methane gas is more harmful to the atmosphere than CO2 over its lifetime. Landfills are the second largest source of man-made methane emissions in the US, and much of this is attributed to the long legacy of organic matter anaerobically decomposing in the landfill and making methane gas. This is why it is more important than ever to keep as much organic matter like food scraps, yard waste, and agricultural waste out of the landfill. Plastics are generally stable in the landfill, and things like foam will stick around for a very long time – we are not sure when they will ever really break down.

Learn more directly from our Ingeo manufacturer NatureWorks http://www.natureworksllc.com/The-Ingeo-Journey/End-of-Life-Options

Is Ingeo or corn plastic edible?
Ingeo is FDA approved for food contact and well-suited for a variety of packaging applications, but it is not recommended for human consumption.

Can I put Ingeo products in the freezer?
Ingeo™ can become brittle when frozen, so we don’t recommend putting these products in the freezer.


Sugarcane (Bagassse)

What is the heat tolerance of sugarcane (bagasse) items?
Sugarcane is heat tolerant like paper and can even be put in the microwave or the freezer. As with paper, extremely hot food might cause sugarcane to lose some of its strength, but it is one of the best compostable food service materials that can handle hot temperatures.

Can sugarcane (bagasse) products handle liquids and grease?
Lined sugarcane products will hold liquids well and is grease and cut resistant. Unlined sugarcane works great too, but like paper, it may be more likely to loose strength when used with very hot foods or liquids.

Can I put sugarcane (bagasse) products in the oven?
We do not recommend that sugarcane be used in ovens. Sugarcane fiber is heat tolerant like paper and is both microwave and freezer safe. However, as with paper, it will begin to lose some of its strength when in contact with extremely hot items or in the oven.

Can I put sugarcane (bagasse) products in the freezer?
Paper and Sugarcane products can go in the freezer, although they are not airtight, so freshness and freezer burn can become issues if left there for too long.


RPET

What is rPET?
rPET is recycled PET (or Polyethylene terephthalate) plastic. PET is it is one of the most common plastics in the world. You have probably seen this plastic in your soda and water bottles that are marked with the resin code #1. PET is originally produced from fossil fuels — typically natural gas and petroleum, but it is one of the easiest plastics to recycle.

Is your rPET pre- or post-consumer recycled?
We use post-consumer recycled PET plastic in our cups and containers. That way the recycled resin, rPET, becomes more accepted and valuable as people see how easy it is to include in regular items.

Are your rPET (or other BlueStripe™) products recyclable?
In short, probably not.

Our BlueStripe™ items are made from post-consumer recycled PET plastic, polystyrene or fiber, so we are excited to give a second (or third) life to these materials. Unfortunately, it can be hard for some recycling facilities to capture these items – instead, their environmental benefit lies in their front end materials.

Each recycling facility has different machinery for sorting and sells recycled flake to different markets. This is why recycling varies in each town. Only your recycling facility can tell you what the accept, so check with them first. Remember to check for different shapes of product as well as the resin codes. Most facilities want #1 PET or rPET plastic bottles, but not all of them can accept foodservice or container shapes.

For these items, please dispose of them responsibly and only recycle them if they are accepted. Coming soon! There are some regions where #1 PET recycling has expanded and you can put our BlueStripe™ PET items in the recycling bin. It's not everywhere yet, but hopefully one day soon. We encourage you to check with your local municipality or materials recovered facility (MRF for short) to see if they are accepted and if not, to learn when they will be.