Do compostable materials make a difference if it’s all going in the trash can anyway?


Let’s say you buy a bag of chips and the bag states it’s compostable. If you don’t throw the bag of chips in an actual compost and instead put them in the regular trash can, is this equally bad for the environment? Compare to a regular bag of chips made of plastic. If it is better for the compost bags to go in the trash, why? It’s all going underground anyways. Yes I’m aware the plastic will take a lot longer to break down. Would that plastic eventually turn into micro plastic and spoil the soil?

In: 14

Compost piles speed up the breakdown process. Garbage dumps just throw it all in some yard while compost heaps are kept wet and warm to turbocharge the bacteria to chomp down on the trash. Plastic and uncompostable material also slow down the process as microbes have to navigate around them to get from one piece to another.

I think the implication is that *you should be composting* the compostable materials. Direct food waste should be composted directly in a residential composter and “compostable material” items like alternative plastic utensils, containers, bags, etc., should be composted in industrial composing facilities than can handle this waste.

Landfills are infamously poor at naturally degrading even easily compostable materials. You can go do your local dump right now and dug up a perfectly readable newspaper from 1955.

If you throw it into a compost bin, you know that it will be composted to make rich soil that will be used for agriculture or landscaping.

If you it into general trash, it’s not certain what will happen to it. It may be incinerated, buried in a land fill, or dumped in the ocean. It will be mixed in with other trash that may not promote breaking down of the material, and it certainly will not be usable to any benefit to people or the environment. However, it’s unlikely that the compostable material would be any more harmful than other things mixed in the trash.

Organic materials to landfill = Anaerobic decomposition -> Methane.

Organic materials composted = Aerobic decomposition -> CO2.