How and why do you pick your manufacturers?
Currently our products are manufactured by World Centric. We feel they provide quality solutions that meet the needs of our clients and the environment. We have included in this page a number of questions that can give you a better understanding of the products' environmental impact and transparency of the manufacturing process.
There are always opportunities to improve and we welcome suggestions for companies that strive to offer environmentally friendly, economically accessible, and socially responsible solutions.
World Centric Product Information:
Q: What are your compostable products made from?
We have 3 main product material categories: plant fiber, paper, and PLA (Polylactic Acid). Each of these categories offers a unique way to replace traditional items.
Hundreds of different fibrous plants can be manufactured into alternatives to tree-based paper products. Our main source of plant fiber is wheat straw, though it is occasionally supplemented by sugarcane and bamboo. In many agricultural processes, wheat straw is treated merely as the agricultural waste that remains after grain or juice is extracted. It is commonly thrown away or burned.
For World Centric®, straw is a valuable resource that can be fashioned into disposable products like plates, take-out containers, bowls, etc. Using plant fiber protects forests, uses less energy and fewer toxic chemicals than paper alternatives, provides a new revenue for farmers, and is a renewable and sustainable resource.
World Centric® provides a line of hot cups and bowls made from paper. While we believe that the best way to protect the world’s forests is to reduce consumption of tree-based products, many of our customers want products which cannot yet be replicated by plant-fiber. Our paper products are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council guaranteeing the responsible management of the forests.
Polylactic Acid (PLA)
PLA is a bio-based plastic derived from renewable resources such as corn starch, tapioca roots, or sugarcane. World Centric® products are made from a type of PLA called Ingeo™. To make Ingeo™, sugar from plants is turned into lactic acid through fermentation which is converted into polymer. At this stage, it is shaped into pellets which can be transformed into a wide variety of products. Manufacturing Ingeo™ produces 75% fewer greenhouse gasses and uses 50% less non-renewable energy than traditional polymers like PET & polystyrene.
Q: What is the difference between compostable plastic and biodegradable plastic?
“Biodegradable” means that an object is capable of disintegrating by biological means. Technically, these items could be composed of almost any material since with enough time microorganisms can decompose almost anything. For example, aluminum cans will biodegrade in the ocean in about 200 years and hard plastic bottle caps will biodegrade in about 400 years.
“Compostable” means that a product breaks down to carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass which leaves no toxic residue. According to D6400 composting standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), compostable products must break down at a rate similar to paper or disintegrate into small pieces within 90 days so that the original product is not visually distinguishable in the compost.
Q: How are your products better than traditional alternatives?
Every World Centric® product is certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute to meet ASTM D6400 standards for compostability and certified for plant-based content by the USDA BioBased program Our products not only break down into the soil, but - through their production and disposal - use less energy and water, and release less harmful pollutants than their conventional counterparts.
For example, we can make 2 compostable forks with the same amount of energy it takes to make 1 polystyrene fork and 3 compostable plates with the same amount as 1 polystyrene plate. That’s a 66% saving in energy. Using less energy means producing less greenhouse gas and emitting less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Conventional plastics are manufactured from 20 different petroleum-based resins with 20 different levels of recyclability and toxicity. As a fossil fuel, petroleum in a non-renewable resource and its extraction process degrades the environment. Due to complexity in recycling, over 20 million tons of plastic are sent to landfill each year.
Q: Which products have the least environmental impact?
Our plant fiber products are made from wheat straw, a leftover agricultural byproduct after the wheat grains have been removed. Here are some of the other benefits of using wheat straw:
- Protects forests by replacing the need for paper. While 5 tons of wood are needed to produce 1 ton of pulp for paper, only 1.5 tons of straw are needed to produce the same amount.
- Annually renewable and sustainable
- Require less energy. A wood pulp mill uses 10 times the energy required to create wheat straw pulp.
- New revenue for farmers: directing agricultural waste into paper manufacturing provides an additional income stream for farmers, without impacting food production or increasing energy inputs, and without putting new land into production.
Q: What is composting?
Composting is breaking down organic material by bacteria, yeasts, and fungi into healthy, fertile soil.
To learn more about composting, please click here.
Q: How do I properly dispose of my compostable products?
Compostable products should be sent to a commercial composting facility. Unfortunately, not every city has a nearby composting site. You can contact your city’s waste management and/or recycling programs for further information on your composting options. Your city or county website will often have information on composting and free composting classes available.
Information on how to create your own compost can be found here.
Biodegradable/compostable products are not recyclable and contaminate the recycling line. In the trash, they will most likely end up in a landfill.
Q: Can I recycle compostable products?
Compostable products should not be sent to recycling facilities as they contaminate the recycling lines, which are sorted by material. Compostables have the ability to be recycled but facilities are limited.
Q: Are your products edible?
While our products are generally non-toxic, they are not recommended for human consumption. If accidentally ingested, contact your physician.
For a full product information Q&A go to: http://www.worldcentric.org/faq.html