Composting is a great way to go green and reduce your carbon footprint. But if you've ever tried to compost fruit stickers, you may have wondered if it's safe to do so. The answer is: yes! In fact, the little stickers on fruit are perfectly safe for composting. There are two types of stickers on fruit, however; one type will biodegrade with your produce while the other won't. So here's what you need to know about both kinds of stickers before tossing them in your bin:
There are two types of stickers on fruit. The first type is the sticker that you see on the outside of a fruit. This is often made up of plastic and cannot be biodegraded. The second type, which is much more common, is a small sticker on the inside of a fruit that looks like it has been through a war zone. These tags are actually made from paper and can be composted if placed in your backyard composter with other paper-based waste like napkins and paper towel tubes (not included).
The first kind, the ones that tell you what is in your hand, are compostable. They are made from a resin called PLA (polylactic acid) and not plastic. PLA is derived from cornstarch or sugarcane so it's a biodegradable material that breaks down in an industrial composting facility into carbon dioxide, water and biomass (organic matter).
The second type of sticker is a little less exciting: it's made from paper or plastic. This isn't necessarily bad for the environment—it all depends on how many times this product has been recycled!
The second kind, the ones that tell the store how much to charge you for what is in your hand, are not compostable. They will not break down in a compost bin and they won't break down in a worm bin or backyard compost pile either.
The little stickers that say "compostable" are made from cornstarch and vegetable oil and are 100% biodegradable. In other words: they will completely decompose into soil if you put them outside to rot with your food scraps (or anything else organic). This means that if you have a fruit basket full of these little stickers on it inside your house - they'll be fine! But if you put one outside in the sun? It'll turn into nothing but dirt within months (or years depending on where you live).
Composting is a great way to dispose of food waste. Compost is a wonderful soil amendment that many gardeners use, and it's an environmentally responsible way to keep your yard tidy without adding toxins to the environment. It's also a good way to use fruit that might otherwise go bad before you have time to eat it all!
You can compost the stickers on fruit using either method—the fruit will be fine regardless of what happens with the sticker.
The stickers are made from paper, and PLA, a plastic made from corn starch. PLA is a known compostable material that can be composted at home or at community composting facilities.
PLA is biodegradable and doesn't contain any chlorine or bisphenol A (BPA), both of which are toxic chemicals used in other plastics. BPA has been linked to health concerns like early onset diabetes and obesity in children who have been exposed to the chemical due to their mothers' consumption of products containing BPA while pregnant
Paper is biodegradable, and PLA is a known compostable material. However, the stickers on fruit are not typically PLA—they're usually made from polypropylene, which does not break down in home composting systems.
PLA is short for polylactic acid or polylactide, which are types of plastic derived from corn starch via fermentation and other chemical processes. PLA plastics are well-known for being biodegradable in industrial composting facilities; however, they do not decompose at home unless you have access to special equipment like an industrial composter or a worm bin.
Both the paper and PLA will compost in industrial facilities. However, if you're trying to compost these stickers at home, you may need to use more than just your backyard bin.
The plastic in these labels is composed of polylactic acid, which is a biodegradable material that can be manufactured from corn starch. Both the paper and PLA will compost in industrial facilities—there's no need for anything special from you!
Unfortunately, there are limits to how much PLA can be composted in home composting systems. While some PLA is accepted by municipal and commercial composting programs, it is not accepted by many industrial-scale operations. Even if you live near a facility that does accept PLA for industrial composting, there may be limitations on how much can be processed at once.
Many localities have specific regulations regarding what can or cannot be included in their curbside collection programs. In some cases, those lists of acceptable items might include things like paper products but not plastics; while in others they might include food scraps but not packaging materials like plastic bags or bottles (which might also end up in landfills).
You’ve spotted a sticker on your fruit, and now you have some questions. How do you get it off? What happens if you don’t remove the sticker? Is there any way around this problem?
Well, for starters, take heart: stickers are completely compostable! You can remove them from your fruit with vegetable oil, or gently scraped off with a knife or other sharp object. If all else fails, use your fingers to pop off the little pieces of paper. Of course this method is not ideal; it wastes time and energy (not to mention whatever plastic gloves were involved in making those stickers). But sometimes life isn't perfect—and if removing these stickers from fruits means less litter in our environment then that's something we're happy to live with!
We all know that waxed paper and plastic are bad for the environment. But more often than not we can't do anything about it — until now!
So, does this mean that the little fruit stickers are compostable?
The answer is yes, but only if you're willing to take them off of the fruit first. PLA (polylactic acid) is a type of compostable plastic that is made from corn, which makes it biodegradable and reusable. However, it should not be used as the sole material for food wrapping because there are limits to how much can be composted in home systems.
If you are concerned about composting fruit labels, don't worry. Composting will not hurt either type of sticker. But make sure that if you decide to compost them with other compostable food scraps, like coffee cups and egg cartons, that these items do not already contain BPA or PVC before putting them in with your other kitchen scraps!