Saturday, April 3, 2010

Breaking Down the Break Down of a Green Takeout Box

Posted By on Sat, Apr 3, 2010 at 8:32 AM

click to enlarge 12south_compostable_takeout.jpg

A tasty reuben with haricots verts came home from 12South Taproom in a compostable box from Eco Products, made from sugarcane and supplied for a small extra charge.

The reuben went down the hatch. The box was destined to become an experiment. We decided to assay the composting power of our compost pile on the breaking down-ability of the box. The first picture is the box, and the second is the box on the compost pile, awaiting its fate.

click to enlarge 12South_compostable_2.jpg

A month, two snows, a sleeting, and a rainy day, it looked like the third photo. Clearly, the box was made to withstand a little precipitation.

click to enlarge takeout_box_breakdown_1month.JPG

What the mix needed was microbes, the invisible key to creative decay. A layer kitchen waste compost was spread over the box, left there three weeks, then half of the box uncovered for another two weeks.

click to enlarge Compostable takeout box discarded January 12, photographed March 24.
  • Compostable takeout box discarded January 12, photographed March 24.

Buried under the pile was the other half of the original box, beginning to fall apart at the edges on its journey to becoming part of next year's garden.

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