Compostable products must: 1) be degradable in a compost system resulting in H2O, Carbon dioxide, inorganic compounds, and biomass. 2) disintegrate a composted product must break into small enough pieces that it is indistinguishable from the soil. 3) The resulting products from decomposition must leave behind no Eco-toxicity. 4) Result in soil that can support plant growth.
Biodegradable vs. Biocompostable
Biodegradable products will degrade due to naturally occurring microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi over a period of time. There is the possibility of a toxic residue as a result of the degrading process because of the materials used in manufacturing the original product. Biocompostable products degrade in the same way however, there can not be any toxic residue as a result.
These products will break into smaller pieces until they cannot be distinguished from soil. These products can be broken down by sunlight , temperature, or water. There is no requirement that they can be consumed by microorganisms. There is no requirement that the result of this degradation be free of toxic residue.
Any material that will not decompose in the composting process. Principal contaminates include Glass, Metal, Plastic, and Styrofoam. Additionally anything that will result in a toxic residue or impede plant growth in finished product would be considered a contaminate.
Source-Separated Organic Waste (S.S.O.W.)
Food or other organic waste that is sorted to remove contamination and recyclables at the location where waste is generated.
Pre-Consumer vs. Post-Consumer Waste
Pre consumer refers to those materials that are a result of preparing a product for consumption. For example waste from the prep kitchen would be pre consumer waste. Post consumer waste is the waste that results from consumer use or consumption of a product. Uneaten food, plate scrapings, and product packaging would be considered post consumer waste.
Plant material that has been collected including brush, tree wood, lawn clippings, leaves, and any other vegetation.
Made up of food and food preparation waste. Typically this waste will have food as well as some compostable food packaging.
Food Processing Waste
This waste is generally the result of food product manufacturing. It is characterized by large volumes of mostly homogenous waste. Usually high in moisture content.
This material is made up of manure, animal bedding, spoiled feed, and crop residuals.