\n\n100% of our packaging and even our in-shower containers will decompose in your home compost heap. That’s a non-negotiable for us, and something we talk a lot about. You can safely say that yep, we love composting.\nHere’s a bit about why:\n\nNothing breaks down in landfill\n\nSplurging on those ‘biodegradable’ bin liners or nappies? You might as well save your cash and buy the full plastic cheapos. Landfills are, essentially, modern pyramids – we’re embalming our waste for future generations to unearth. In a 1992 article, a modern-day garbage archaeologist recalls unearthing perfectly preserved 40-year-old hot dogs, heads of lettuce still beautiful after 25 years and some still-good guacamole, with a nearby still-legible newspaper dated 1967. Not all landfills are quite so compact, anaerobic and mummifying, but even well-aerated ones aren’t ideal.\n\nCompostables in landfills release toxic gas\n\nIf you’re lucky and your food scraps, paper, leaves and other compostable items do end up in conditions that allow bacteria to break them down, that’s not actually good news. In a landfill, there’s still not likely to be enough oxygen, so decomposition in that environment produces methane – a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. That same apple core buried in your garden or chucked onto your compost? Happy worms, thriving bacteria, minimal methane and a more nourished garden.\n\nCompost makes new soil\n\nGuys, we’re running out of good dirt. With deforestation, intensive farming and development, we’re swiftly losing our top soil – you know, the stuff we need to grow food. Some places suggest that we’re losing soil at between 10 and 40 times the rate it’s being replenished.\nComposting, that magical process, turns waste into nutrition, breathing life into stripped soils, and ultimately letting us grow more food.\n\nRecycling isn’t that great\n\nDon’t get us wrong, if your only other option is landfill, then recycling is by far the better option. But it’s not by any means an environmental saviour. The process of recycling many plastics, for example, produces a lot of greenhouse emissions – more than making virgin plastic. Recycling paper creates toxic paper sludge that’s burned or sent to landfill to leach toxic chemicals. So yeah, recycling should be your second-to-last resort – not your go-to. Oh and of course… the fact that plastic very rarely gets recycled anyway – we’ve only ever recycled 9% of it!\n\nComposts don’t smell!\n\nWe promise – a healthy compost heap will smell earthy – not that rotten-eggs smell you’d usually associate with rotting food.\n\n[ Photo source: Fundy Region Solid Waste ]\n\n\nIs cardboard packaging always compostable?\nOurs is, but there’s lots of packaging that looks like it should be compostable, but isn’t. Here are some common reasons why it’d have to go into landfill instead of back into the garden:\n\n\nIt’s laminated or waxed. Things like coffee cups (see above), most baking paper, and lots of food wrapping are coated with plastic or petroleum-based wax.\n\nIt has sneaky plastic. Lots of paper-based products have tiny bits of plastic that won’t break down (I’m looking at you, tea bags). Those shiny cardboard boxes that top-shelf moisturiser, give that box a tear and you’ll see a very thin film of plastic!\n\nIt has inks, acid or chlorine that will be toxic when the item breaks down.\n\nOur cardboard boxes – and everything we send through the mail – are free from acid, chlorine, laminates and plastic, so they are completely compostable. We use vegetable inks too, which worm farms can cope with. Essentially, you shouldn’t have to throw anything you get from us into landfill. It can all go in the garden.\n\nHow to compost\nHonestly, it’s not that hard. While there are composting enthusiasts who make a real science of it, generally you just pile organic things up and let them rot down. The best kind of heap will have a good mix of stuff in it: juicy, dry and light, and woody stuff, all layered like a big, delicious, rotting parfait.\nWoody bits of stick, bark and cardboard create a structure in the heap that lets air circulate – think about this as your compost heap’s flue. Light leafy things, like grass clippings, will decompose really fast, creating lots of heat, which keeps your heap working hard – this is like your kindling. That means the heap is all ready to take on the heavy duty work of breaking down the nutrition in banana peels, onion skins and celery ends. And to super-charge your compost? Poo. Avoid faeces from animals that eat meat (like cats and dogs) because it can introduce dangerous bacteria to your spring lettuces. But horse and cow dung, or the scrapings from your guinea pig cage or chicken coop – that’s all good stuff.\nIf you’re not in a hurry, just chuck everything in as is – mother nature will deal to it, if you give her enough time. If you’d like to use your compost sooner rather than later, it’s a good idea to help along anything that takes longer to compost. Crush egg shells, chop up banana skins and avo peels and pits into smaller pieces, and rip compostable cardboard and paper into finger-sized bits.\nAnd then you can just leave it, or to be a compost A-student, turn your heap every couple of weeks with a garden fork. It’s heavy work, but it speeds everything up by getting new waste into the hot centre, and letting the air circulate nicely.\nHow to tell if packaging is compostable\nGenerally speaking if the packaging looks and feels like paper, and has a ‘home compostable’ label somewhere on it, it’s probably good to go.\nSupposedly ‘compostable’ plastics are a little iffy. We don’t really know what they’re made of, what ‘compostable’ actually means in the real world, what the packaging will leave in the soil and what kinds of environmental impact its production had. Until we know all that, we’ll be assuming the worst and avoiding it.\nMost cardboard or paper that’s waxed or coated can’t be recycled or composted and will need to go to landfill. Anything that’s highly coloured and doesn’t mention anything about compostability should probably just go in the recycling – you don’t know what those inks are going to do out there in the wild. Ours is brightly coloured, true, but we’ve made sure the ink is safe for compost heaps and we’ve tested it on our own worms, too (newsflash: they love it).\nThe absolute best solution is to get things without packaging – raid your local bulk bins, farmers’ markets and local small producers. For everything else try for packaging that introduces deliciousness back into your garden. Happy rotting!