Author Topic: using composing bags in backyard compost?  (Read 374 times)

nereo

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using composing bags in backyard compost?
« on: January 08, 2019, 07:29:50 AM »
Recently 'upgraded' our kitchen compost bin from a plastic container to a larger metal bin, and it came with compostable bags (look like green plastic, but says they meet ATSM D6400 standard for compostibiity (whatever that means).  I've never had or felt the need for such a thing, and I'm wondering what these bags are made of, how fast they really break down in a backyard compost bin (mine looks like this) and what it does to the soil, if anything.
We live in a cold climate, so not much composting action occurs between November and March.

PoutineLover

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Re: using composing bags in backyard compost?
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2019, 07:39:30 AM »
From what I've read, they only compost in industrial settings like city composts, not backyards. You could use them to line the bin and then dump out the contents, might help keep it cleaner.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: using composing bags in backyard compost?
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2019, 07:46:35 AM »
Quote
BioBag products meet European home compost standards, which means they will completely degrade in 90 days in a compost pile that maintains a minimum temperature of 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit), Wagner said. The United States does not have home compost standards, only commercial standards — although the generally accepted ideal internal temperature for the center of an active compost pile is between 90 degrees and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. To reach that temperature, a compost pile should be at least 3 feet tall, 3 feet wide and 3 feet deep, have a mixture of green material (such as grass clippings and food scraps) to supply nitrogen, brown material (leaves, small branches) to add carbon, have adequate moisture levels and be turned over on a regular basis to give the contents access to oxygen.

From: https://www.mnn.com/your-home/organic-farming-gardening/stories/do-compostable-bags-really-work

So maybe take a temp reading of your composting and see if it hits the threshold?

nereo

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Re: using composing bags in backyard compost?
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2019, 07:50:42 AM »
From what I've read, they only compost in industrial settings like city composts, not backyards. You could use them to line the bin and then dump out the contents, might help keep it cleaner.

This is what I was afraid of.  Our backyard composter doesn't have the mass to stay unfrozen year round, and I suspect these bags won't break down very quickly and will just pile up over time.  It's also frustrating that I cannot find any information about what they are made from.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: using composing bags in backyard compost?
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2019, 07:53:04 AM »
From what I've read, they only compost in industrial settings like city composts, not backyards. You could use them to line the bin and then dump out the contents, might help keep it cleaner.

This is what I was afraid of.  Our backyard composter doesn't have the mass to stay unfrozen year round, and I suspect these bags won't break down very quickly and will just pile up over time.  It's also frustrating that I cannot find any information about what they are made from.

See the link I provided. It details what they're made of. Resin and vegetable fibers and such.

Quote
The bags decompose because microorganisms eat and digest the materials the bags are made from. It’s the digestive process that helps to create heat in the compost pile. The materials in the bags that allow microbial organisms to eat them include plants, vegetable oils and a compostable resin sourced in Italy called Mater-Bi, the world’s first bio-polymer made from corn. The corn in most Mater-Bi grades is not of a genetically modified variety, Wagner said.

Prairie Stash

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Re: using composing bags in backyard compost?
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2019, 08:51:52 AM »
I had some ASTM D6400 takeout containers, so I tried them in my compost bin. They mostly broke down after two years, but I kept tossing them back in when I pulled out dirt. The stonger ribbed parts took forever, the thinner bottom of the container was completely gone. Eventually I buried them in a trench as I was tired of dealing with the experiment.

I find I need to keep my compost biin on the smaller side to encourage more frequent dumping. If it gets too long it gets moldy and the bin gets smelly. You can say the same about my garbage can, I neeed to take it out on a time schedule, not on a fullness level.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: using composing bags in backyard compost?
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2019, 11:43:21 AM »
If you're looking for zero waste composting solution, what I did was keep two good sized tupperware containers in the fridge to store food scraps in.  When one was full I'd go dump it and put it in the dishwasher, and there was another to use in the meantime.  Keeping them in the fridge let things go A LOT longer before getting gross (think about how much longer food lasts in the fridge vs not), so you could pull it out and put it next to you on the counter while doing prep.

nereo

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Re: using composing bags in backyard compost?
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2019, 12:29:27 PM »
If you're looking for zero waste composting solution, what I did was keep two good sized tupperware containers in the fridge to store food scraps in.  When one was full I'd go dump it and put it in the dishwasher, and there was another to use in the meantime.  Keeping them in the fridge let things go A LOT longer before getting gross (think about how much longer food lasts in the fridge vs not), so you could pull it out and put it next to you on the counter while doing prep.

Thanks - I already have a zero-waste composing solution.  About half goes into my worm bins while the rest gets dumped in my outside composting bin. The containers get emptied every couple of days - when its hot out I put them in the fridge as you suggested but in the cooler months it doesn't seem to be a problem.
I was just wondering about these 'biodegradable' bags which came with my new can and whether they would actually break down over the course of a few months.  Sounds like they will not, so I won't even both using them and instead save them for some other function.

thanks all for hte input

Tabitha

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Re: using composing bags in backyard compost?
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2019, 06:05:55 AM »
My experience with the composting bags was different, but still sub-optimal. We use a large coffee tin and empty when full (3-7 days in average). The first few times we lined the tin with bags to keep the tin clean, when we’d pull the bag it would already be 30% disintegrated, defeating the purpose. Waste of time (they were a free sample so no wasted money)

hoodedfalcon

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Re: using composing bags in backyard compost?
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2019, 06:14:18 AM »
I have been using these for the last couple of months in my backyard compost, so I can't speak to how quickly they are going to break down. But I do a lot of composting and I sift my compost before using it anyway, so tossing some partially broken down bags back in the compost is no different than tossing the partially broken down vegetable back in the compost. I built a three-compartment bin, so I am hoping that leaving one bin to breakdown while filling the others will help.


nereo

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Re: using composing bags in backyard compost?
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2019, 06:22:54 AM »
I have been using these for the last couple of months in my backyard compost, so I can't speak to how quickly they are going to break down. But I do a lot of composting and I sift my compost before using it anyway, so tossing some partially broken down bags back in the compost is no different than tossing the partially broken down vegetable back in the compost. I built a three-compartment bin, so I am hoping that leaving one bin to breakdown while filling the others will help.

The three-bin compartment worked incredibly well for us in our last house, though I'd recommend mixing in leaves and other yard waste whenever possible, which seems to aerate the kitchen scraps and allow them to decompose much faster.

hoodedfalcon

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Re: using composing bags in backyard compost?
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2019, 05:37:49 PM »
So far I have enjoyed the three bin method a lot. I add leaves when I can. I also added some woodchips, mostly because I got a chip drop and had so. many. woodchips. I am hoping the little green bags break down relatively quickly, but again, it's not really a big deal with this system.