What Is A Compostable Material? (Its Characteristics and Environmental Impact)

Go-Compost-Compostable Material-With A Man Holding A Compostable Bowl

Compostable Material Overview

Compost is mainly all organic material that you can add to the soil to help your plants grow. Hence, compostable means that a material is capable of breaking down into natural elements in a compost environment. Undoubtedly, it causes no harm to the environment since it is broken down into its natural elements. Moreover, when compostable material and green waste end up in a landfill, it needs to be exposed to bacteria, moisture, and oxygen to biodegrade. And in addition, the best way to keep these materials out of landfills is by making compost. Indeed, composting becomes a resource and an incredibly valuable one in many communities.

Furthermore, your kitchen makes an important contribution. For example, fruits and vegetable trimmings make perfect compost addition. Instead of going down garbage disposals into the septic tank. Also, your yard waste and food scraps make up more than 30 percent of what you throw away, instead of composting it. Another example of compostable material is food packaging from a variety of plant-based materials that are 100% commercially compostable. Additionally, compostable products are indeed environment-friendly, yet it is necessary to ensure that your compostable waste is going to a compost facility and not in landfills.


capable of undergoing aerobic biological decomposition in a compost system, such that the material becomes visually indistinguishable and breaks down into carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass.

Compostable Product

Any product particularly manufactured to break down in a compost system at the end of its useful life. Made from plant fibers, plastic, or paper, along with other ingredients that provide necessary form and functionality. 

The Characteristics Of Compostable Material

1. Composition: They are from organic matter such as; sugarcane, cornstarch, potato starch, and others.

2. Degradation: They are capable of breaking down into natural elements in a compost environment and leave no visible, distinguishable, or toxic residue.

3. Degradation time: 90% degrade in 180 days in a compost environment.

Go-Compost-Compostable Material-With A Woman Opening Her Compostable Boxes

Compostable Material From Food Packaging

1. Bamboo Compostable Material

Indeed it is one of the strongest and fastest-growing plants in the world. And it is used to make utensils and tableware. Also, you can turn its fiber into paper cups.

2. PLA/Poly Lactic Acid

Hence, it is a compostable, plant-based bioplastic derived from corn. You can indeed make clear cups and containers out of it.

3. Bioplastic from wood

Some plastic bags are from Natureflex™ cellulose. It is a clear film made from processing the natural cellulose fibers of plants.

4. Wheat straw fiber

It is used to manufacture alternatives to tree-based paper products and food containers. It is naturally gluten-free and does not contain protein or any other allergens.

5. Fiber made from sugarcane/Bagasse

This is a byproduct of sugarcane farming using the leftover sugarcane stalks. Mostly, it is used to replace paper to create bowls and cups. Also, it is 100% compostable.

6. Recycled paper

Post-consumer recycled paper is one of the most popular choices in the food packaging industry. You can create reusable shopping bags, coffee cups, and food containers out of it.


Talc is a natural mineral that helps PLA mold into harder materials. Usually, it is combined with a ratio of 70% PLA and 30% talc. Also has rigidity and strength used mainly for utensils. And TPLA utensils are a common environment-friendly choice.

Go-Compost-Compostable Material-With A Woman Watering Plants

Go-Compost – Compostable products Lists

Organic Compostable Matter

  • Paper
  • Leaves
  • Teabags
  • Sawdust
  • Eggshells
  • Nutshells
  • Cardboard
  • Wood chips
  • Hair and fur
  • Houseplants
  • Hay and straw
  • Yard trimmings
  • Grass clippings
  • Fireplace ashes
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Cotton and Wool Rugs
  • Coffee grounds and filters

The Environmental Impact Of Compostable Material

In general, Compostable materials are from organic elements or plants that degrade with time. Hence it needs a specific environment to degrade which includes the right temperature, oxygen, nutrients, and moisture. Moreover, if you properly compost it, it will only leave behind beneficial residual products such as fertilizers which help improve your soil’s health. Indeed, using compostable materials will benefit you in many ways including having healthy soil. And as we all know, it is indeed important to have good and healthy soil to survive. Also, other living organisms depend on it too. Most importantly, it reduces waste and lowers greenhouse gas emissions which the earth needs the most to combat climate change.

Furthermore, composting is the best natural process to recycle all compostable material to make a valuable fertilizer that enriches soil and plants. Hence, composting speeds up the process by providing an ideal environment for bacteria, fungi, and other decomposing living organisms. And compost is the product of this decomposition process which looks like fertile garden soil or “black gold”. Indeed, it is rich in nutrients, which are most likely for agriculture, gardening, and horticulture.

Go-Compost-Compostable Material-With Compost Soil


Compostable packaging materials have the advantage of being created with the circular economy in mind. Hence, packaging which is from renewable plant-based materials can continue to be used after the waste phase of the cycle, returning to the resource stream as nutrient-rich compost, enhancing our soil while also capturing carbon from the atmosphere.

Do you want to add any compostable materials to the lists? Post your comments and ideas below.

Leave a Reply