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ECO FAQ

Questions

  1. Are cardboard and paper compostable ?
  2. Are molded pulp products compostable ?
  3. Are wooden packagings compostable ?
  4. What does biodegradable mean ?
  5. What is the AIB Vinçotte's "OK biodegradable" label ?
  6. What is the AIB Vinçotte's "OK compost" label ?
  7. What is the composting process ?
  8. What is the difference between a homemade composting and the industrial composting ?
  9. What is the difference between a recyclable product and a recycled product ?
  10. What is the difference between biodegradable and compostable ?
  11. What is the difference between degradable and biodegradable ?
  12. What is the Din Certco label ?
  13. What is the European ecological label ?
  14. What is the European norm EN 13432 ?
  15. What is the green spot label ?
  16. What is the meaning of color coded waste recycle bins ?
  17. What is the meaning of PLA and PSM ?
  18. What is the NF environment mark ?
  19. What is the waste selective waste collection ?
  20. What kind of waste can we use for the homemade composting ?
  21. Why do we have to privilege products coming from renewable sources ?
  22. Why recycled products must be privileged ?
  23. Why recycling is so important ?
 

Answers

1) Are cardboard and paper compostable ?

Cardboard and paper are not compostable because they are made of paper paste but also of chemical additives. However they are recyclable and this is very advantageous. For instance, a single fibre paper can be recycled up to 10 times.

2) Are molded pulp products compostable?

Molded pulp products are compostable if they are made of vegetable residues and without any chemical additive. In this case they are in accordance to the EN 13432 norm.

3) Are wooden packagings compostable ?

By definition, wood is compostable and biodegradable when it is completely natural. It is in accordance to the EN 13432 norm. However, wooden products are oftenly associated with plastic, paper, glue or inks. In this case, it wouldn?t be a 100% compostable product. Wood is also easily recyclable, it can be transformed into chips and it can be used once again.

4) What does biodegradable mean ?

A biodegradable product is the one that can be easily decomposed by microorganisms without adding any chemical product. Time for biodegradability will depend on the amount of oxygen, humidity rate and temperature.

5) What is the AIB Vinçotte's "OK biodegradable" label?

Created in 2009, this label measures the amount of carbon coming from renewable sources regarding fossil carbon inside a matter, in order to give value to products coming from renewable sources. According to the renewable raw materials rate (% bio based) inside a product, this one can be certified as ? 1 star bio based?, ?2 stars bio based? , ?3 stars bio based? or ?4 stars bio based?.

6) What is the AIB Vinçotte's "OK compost" label?

This is an European label diffused by the Belgium agency Aib Vinçotte which guarantees that the components of a product can be composted in an industrial or professional composting zone without detrimental effects to the compost quality. When time comes for decomposition, the highest possible temperature is needed (more than 55°C) A second OK Compost Home label exists which guarantees that the components of the product can be composted in a private compost or in a drum. If the composting process goes well, the product will decompose itself in several months.

7) What is the composting process?

It is a natural biological process that gives value to organic matters and allows its conversion into a high humic product when in the presence of oxygen. At the end of the composting process, we get compost or humus which can be directly used in agriculture. By composting, we avoid costly and polluting incinerations and we give value to our wastes.

8) What is the difference between a homemade composting and the industrial composting?

The difference comes from the temperature and the composting time. Industrial composting requires a temperature of 75°-80°C, a humidity rate of 65-70% and an oxygen rate of 18-20%. In these conditions, composting takes around 12 weeks. In garden compost, temperature never exceeds 40°C and humidity will depend on the time of the year, the season, and the latitude. Composting will be far longer, it can take up to several months.

9) What is the difference between a recyclable product and a recycled product?

A recycled product is fully or partially made of waste. The most common recycled product is the glass or the recycled paper, made of paper waste. A recyclable product can be reused by recycling or by industrial processing.

10) What is the difference between biodegradable and compostable?

Biodegradable and compostable don?t have the same meaning. A biodegradable product can be decomposed by microorganisms, but it doesn?t necessarily mean that it will produce good quality compost (humic). Consequently, a biodegradable product is not necessarily compostable; however a compostable product is necessarily biodegradable.

11) What is the difference between degradable and biodegradable?

Biodegradable products have a vegetal origin. The whole biodegradation process takes several months under the ground. Products that can be impaired (or divided into several fragments) come from an oil-producing origin, they made of polyethylene PE and chemical additives. With the presence of oxygen, under the effect of heat and UV rays, they loose their mechanical resistance, break up into several particles and visually disappear.

12) What is the Din Certco label?

This is an European label diffused by the German Agency Din certco, which equivalent is the norm EN 13432 regarding biodegradability and composting.

13) What is the European ecological label ?

Created in 1992, the European ecological label is the only official label that can be used in all the member states of the European Union. For now, it is mostly affixed on the cleaning household products.

14) What is the European norm EN 13432 ?

This is the European norm concerning packaging and packaging waste. This norm establishes the requirements regarding the value we can give to the packaging by composting and biodegradation. It rests in 5 firm foundations: composting, biodegradability, disintegration, final compost quality, and eco toxicity.

15) What is the green spot label?

The green spot label means the company has made a contribution to an authorized recycling organization but it doesn?t mean that the product is recycled.

16) What is the meaning of color coded waste recycle bins ?

Yellow waste bin: plastic packaging (bottles, boxes), metals, cardboards. Green waste bin: glass Blue waste bin: paper, magazines, newspapers. Black waste bin: leftovers, organic waste.

17) What is the meaning of PLA and PSM ?

PLA and PSM are vegetal synthetic resins coming from starch. PLA is the abbreviation for Polylactic acid or polylactide which is a result of the sugar or starch fermentation, it is a transparent material, resistant and insipid, a natural alternative to polyethylene, 100% biodegradable and compostable. PSM (abbreviation for PLA starch Material) is a starch polymer, solid and microwave-resistant, 100% biodegradable and compostable.

18) What is the NF environment mark?

Created in 1991, this label requires some eligibility criteria?s concerning highly toxic materials used by the most traditional polluting industries (painting, varnish, house furnishings and bag industry).

19) What is the waste selective waste collection?

The selective collection and sorting of industrial waste is mandatory for companies (Decree n° 94-609 of July 12th 1994). This decree makes it compulsory to give value to the packaging waste (cardboard, paper, and glass) by reusing it, by recycling it, or by using any other measures that aims at obtaining reusable materials or energy. Any private or public institution is compelled to sort their waste. Since July 2002, unrefined waste cannot be thrown to the dump.

20) What kind of waste can we use for the homemade composting?

It is the diversity of waste which improves the compost quality: we need green and humid wastes (mowed grass, leftovers, and flowers) as well as brown and dried ones (leaves, crushed brunches, straw, sawdust, and ashes) with balanced inputs. You can throw in your compost and all your 100% wooden disposable products (wooden cutlery, palm tableware, skewers and bamboo appetizers, etc.). You can also use your cardboards and even paper in small quantities if it is not made of chemical components. Do not forget to put your compost under shadow on the floor and also to aerate and water it during summer.

21) Why do we have to privilege products coming from renewable sources?

A renewable energy is the one that renews itself in such a quick manner that it can be considered inexhaustible in a human scale. In contrast with fossil raw materials (oil) that take millions of years to renew themselves, plants renew themselves at every single crop. This is the reason why, we have to privilege products coming from renewable sources because they are eternally available.

22) Why recycled products must be privileged ?

Recycled products must be privileged because they limit the use of pure raw materials and preserve natural resources. Moebius loop is the internationally-recognised recycling symbol; the percentage inside the symbol represents the amount of recycled material in the product.

23) Why recycling is so important ?

It is important to recycle because it contributes to the reduction of burning of waste, which spreads CO2 all around long with many other toxic substances, and it limits the production of pure raw materials. The internationally-recognized recycling symbol is the 3 chasing arrows icon, the Mobius Loop. To be recycled, we need a single-material product and not a stained one. Thanks to waste sorting and selective waste collection, a lot of products can be recycled: - Paper - cardboards: Recycling is generally more advantageous than burning. One single paper fibre can be recycled up to 10 times before becoming too fragile. - Wood is recyclable by definition. For instance, wooden pallets can be repaired or transformed into wooden chips in order to manufacturer fibreboards or mulch for gardening. Wood can be used as well as combustible. - Plastics: recyclable plastics are Polypropylene (PP), Polyester (PET), and high-density Polyéthylène (PEHD). For each ton of recycled plastic, we save between 700 and 800kg of crude petroleum. - Steel can be endlessly recycled. It is part of the manufactured steel objects that we use in our daily life (packagings, cars, household appliances, and furnitures). For each ton of recycled steel, we save one ton of iron ore. - Aluminium is endless and easily recyclable: the aluminium recycling allows us to save our natural resources. Between 70% and 80% of products made from aluminium are recycled.