Absolutely! Palm leaf plates are made from leaves and nothing else so they are perfect for composting. They are the carbon portion of the carbon and nitrogen elements needed for composting but more on that later in this post including how to actually compost palm leaf disposable plates. First, let's talk about what composting actually is. Composting is the method of decomposing organic matter. Organic matter can be anything from a banana peel to horse manure to the plates that we eat on. Yes, you read that right, now we can even compost the plates we eat on, so virtually no waste is left behind. Chic Leaf has revolutionized the way we dispose of single-use plates with their Areca Palm Leaf plates and bowls.
Composting your Chic Leaf palm leaf plates is as easy as tossing an apple core into the pile, because they are made of 100% biodegradable, compostable, palm leaves. Chic Leaf’s plates and bowls are made entirely from the fallen leaves of the Areca Palm Tree. They are collected, sanitized and left to air dry. The sheaths are hand pressed with heated moulds, meaning there are no glues, dyes, or toxins used in the process. Not only are the products themselves sustainable, so is the process behind making them.
Not only are Palm Leaf plates completely biodegradable and natural, they are also heavy-duty, durable, and stylish. They can withstand microwaving, heavy, greasy foods, and never release toxins or chemicals. They can be used for high-end table settings at upscale events, as well as for backyard barbecues and birthday parties. Then after the party’s over, you don’t have to worry about producing too much waste, since these plates will easily biodegrade.
Anything that comes from the earth, can also be returned to the earth. Palm Leaf plates come directly from palm leaves, which means they can and should be returned to the earth in an eco-friendly fashion. As Chic Leaf says, “they’re a gift from nature that’s returned to Earth after each use.”
Chic Leaf’s biodegradable tableware will always decompose on their own thanks to the 100% natural materials they’re made from. However, if you’re looking to take advantage of the benefits of composting, adding Palm Leaf plates to your pile will certainly help it along.
It’s important to keep in mind that in order to successfully compost, Nitrogen-rich and Carbon-rich matter must be balanced. Palm Leaf plates are Carbon-rich, so after you’ve cut them up into small pieces and added them to your composting pile, you also have to balance them out with some Nitrogen-rich matter, like rotting fruit, vegetables, or fresh grass clippings and of course, water. Since Palm Leaf plates are dry, maintaining moisture in your pile is necessary.
The trick to getting your Palm Leaf plates to biodegrade quicker is to cut them into small pieces before adding them to the pile. The smaller the surface area, the quicker and more evenly they will decompose. Turning your compost pile and mixing in the small pieces of palm leaf plate will speed the process along as well.
The time it takes Palm Leaf plates to decompose depends on several factors including the composting process, temperature, moisture, among other things. These plates may take anywhere from 6-8 weeks to break down. In comparison, paper takes several months to a year to completely break down. Once Palm Leaf plates are decomposed, there is absolutely nothing left behind. The resulting compost is known as “black gold” to gardeners, and can be used to nourish your garden, lawn, and houseplants.
If you’re on the fence about starting your own compost bin, you should consider the positive impacts composting has on the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the benefits of composting are more than worth the effort that goes into maintaining it. Composting can enrich your soil, minimize food waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and even help the economy.
First and foremost, composting reduces the waste that your household sends to the overflowing landfills every year. In some cases, composting can remove up to 20-50% of your household waste. Food waste is particularly concerning. According to the USDA, “food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply...This added up to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010.” Food waste equates to wasted energy, land, water, and labor. Rather than sending compostable foods to landfills, you should instead harness their nutrients for rich soil. Not only will you reduce food waste, you’ll also reduce your household’s carbon footprint.
Next, composting reduces greenhouse gas emissions, particularly methane. Food waste in landfills makes up 14.1% of US methane emissions. Methane largely contributes to climate change by trapping heat at extremely high rates. NASA estimates methane was responsible for 23% of climate change in the 20th century, and 20% of that is due to poor waste management. Composting increases the amount of carbon stored in soil, otherwise known as creating a “carbon sink”. With more carbon being retained by soil, it significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and detrimental carbons in the atmosphere. Researchers Favoino and Hogg said, “An increase of just 0.15% in organic carbon in arable soils...would effectively imply the sequestration of the same amount of carbon within soil that is currently released into the atmosphere...through the use of fossil fuels.” Composting captures carbon in soil which reduces its effects on climate change, an issue in desperate need of mediation.
Finally, composting has many other benefits for our agriculture and environment regeneration efforts. Compost minimizes our use of harsh chemical fertilizers and even promotes higher agricultural yields. By nourishing the soil rather than the plants themselves, compost promotes healthier, more abundant and nutritious plants, fruits, and vegetables. Compost can also revitalize soil that has been contaminated by hazardous waste; this is particularly helpful to environments that are densely populated. Additionally, compost increases water retention, and minimizes land degradation and soil erosion, which is helpful in farming, reforestation, and habitat revitalization efforts.
Composting is valuable on a small scale by minimizing your household’s waste and regenerating nutrient rich soil for your yard. On a global scale, however, composting is proving to be invaluable. The more we learn about the perfect mixtures and optimal microorganism environments, the more readily we can reuse the waste we produce. Research is currently being done into reusing the heat that is generated from composting as a source of renewable energy. With a concerted effort, composting can revolutionize waste and alleviate the disastrous effects of climate change.
Now that you know the many benefits of composting, you’ll need to know how to get started. So long as you understand the basics of composting, you can do it almost anywhere. While it’s more complicated than just throwing your waste into one big pile, it also doesn’t take a biology degree to successfully compost.
Here are the 5 things you should consider for composting:
First you’ll need to decide the container or bin you’ll be composting in. There are many different kinds, from a simple bucket to a tumbler bin that turns your pile for you, or worm composting bins that do all the work for you. Picking where to set your composting bin up is important, especially should it start to smell. It’s recommended you keep it in a cool, dry area, so as to not affect the internal temperature.
There are a lot of factors that go into the success and rate of your composting, but one of the most important is the organic matter balance. Nitrogen-rich matter, known as green or wet matter, includes things like fresh grass or weed clippings, fruits and vegetables (fresh or rotten), and egg shells. Carbon-rich matter, otherwise known as brown or dry matter, includes items such as bread, sawdust, coffee grounds, fruit pits, paper, tree branches, and dead leaves. Use this infographic below for ideas of the different carbon and nitrogen items you can use for your composting bin.
You must be mindful of the things you add to your composting pile, as an improper balance can lead to foul odors or a dry pile. For example, if you add a big pile of dead leaves and tree branches after doing some yard work, you also need to add manure or fresh grass clippings and water to balance the brown matter with green matter. It’s also a good idea to alternate the layers of organic matter, so the pile decomposes evenly. The more often you compost, the easier it’ll be for you to find the perfect mix.
As mentioned earlier in this post when we cut the palm leaf plates, which people often mistake as disposable bamboo plates, into small pieces in order to compost, it’s essential that you reduce the size of the organic materials you place in the bin. Whether that’s tearing apart fresh weed clippings, or cutting palm leaf plates into small pieces, according to the EPA smaller particles increase the surface area that microorganisms can feed on, thus quickening their degradation. Furthermore, smaller more homogeneous composts increase the internal moisture and temperature, which are optimal for microorganism growth and activity.
In addition to organic matter balance, maintaining moisture is essential to microorganism growth and activity according to Cornell University. A good way to think about it is your compost pile should feel like a damp sponge. If you put too much brown matter, like dead leaves, the dryness makes them inaccessible to microbes, so water must be added. However, overwatering your compost pile is just as harmful, it will create foul odors and could cause leakage. Should you find your pile is oversaturated in water, adding bulky brown matter like wood chips will help. If you live in a place where it rains often, consider a closed or indoor compost bin.
Composting when done properly creates good insulation, meaning the internal temperature of the pile will retain heat. High internal temperatures are necessary for microorganisms to reproduce and grow, as well as to kill weed seeds and other undesirable organisms. The optimum temperature range is 135°-160° Fahrenheit. Any temperature below or above that is not optimal for several reasons. Parasitic eggs and flies survive if the temperature is less than 135° F, so keeping the temperature higher will kill them off. However, at too high of a temperature, the microorganisms are not active to decompose. To help maintain a good temperature, turn your pile, keep it moist, and break down the organic matter into smaller pieces.
Now that you’ve done the hard work of setting up your compost bin, picked a location, and have added a good mix of green and brown matter, what do you do next? It’s time to harvest your compost.
A common question is, how do I know when my compost is finished and ready to be used? Compost is ready when it smells like rich dirt rather than rotting food. Think of taking a deep breath in the middle of a wet forest, that’s what the compost should smell like when it’s finished. It should be dark brown and crumbly, and there shouldn’t be any large chunks of organic matter left. You might see a few things like nut shells or egg shells that haven’t broken down, but a few won’t hurt your soil. Larger things like fruit pits or peels should be removed, though. If you find that too many pieces are left, you can use a sifter to sort out the pieces and keep only the compost.
The finished compost is at the top of your bin, so collect it from the top and do not mix it in with the unfinished organic matter at the bottom. The unfinished matter can remain in the bin to continue decomposing. It’s critical that the compost is finished before using it for your plants. Immature compost decays further by absorbing the nitrogen and oxygen from the surrounding soil, ruining your soil and even your plants.
Another common question is, how long should my composting pile take? The answer depends on all the factors that go into composting, from size, moisture, temperature, and mixture. Typically you should see results in 4-6 months, but it can take much longer for larger piles.
Finally when your compost is done, it’s called humus, known as “black gold” to gardeners. The most common use is as mulch for lawns. Apply a 3-6 in layer and spread it evenly on your lawn. As a mulch, it retains water, promotes lawn growth, and even keeps weeds from sprouting. It serves as an all-natural alternative to chemical fertilizers, as well as saving you money. You can also add it as potting soil for indoor or outdoor plants. Mature compost can balance soil pH, increase nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as provide better air and water channels for plants.
There are quite a few ways that composting can go wrong. Whether it’s adding something that you shouldn’t have, or forgetting to tend to it and it starts to stink. The most common problem though, seems to be that people try to add too much to their compost pile. Yes, anything that was once living can technically be composted, however it’s not always worth the headache.
Here are some things you should NOT add:
Things like dairy products, meat, and fish are technically all compostable, however when breaking down they give off a horrific smell, something most people will want to avoid. On top of that, their smell could attract rodents and flies, a compost’s worst enemies. Dog and cat poop, although organic, pose a high risk of containing parasites or bacteria. It can be harmful to the plants you intend on using your compost for, or worse, it could infect humans. Generally only manure from herbivores should be used.
Stickers from store bought fruit are not something people think much about, but these stickers pose a significant problem for waste management companies. They do not biodegrade and should be removed from the fruit before adding it to the pile. Citrus peels are another item that you may not think is harmful, however their high acidity could actually kill the microorganisms you need for degradation--they also take very long to break down. The last one goes without saying, adding any large branches or sticks is counterproductive to composting since they will take too long to decompose, and just take up space.
A good rule of thumb to follow is, when in doubt, leave it out. Don’t risk ruining your compost pile or attracting pesky flies and rodents by trying to add too much. Keep it simple, add only what you know can be composted, and don’t stray from what’s proven to work.
By now you’ve realized that most things we can eat or that can be found in our yard, can be composted. Objects from nearly every room of your house can be composted rather than thrown in the trash, further reducing your waste production.
Here are a few things you might not have realized could be composted:
Brown Matter (Nitrogen-rich):
Green Matter (Carbon-rich):
Composting is not as difficult as it may seem, and it can be done anywhere, on any budget. You can reduce your household’s waste production, grow healthy plants, fruits, and vegetables, and save money along the way. Not only can it help on a small scale, it is essential to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and ameliorating the disastrous effects of climate change. We cannot undo the damage that has already been done, however we can help return nutrients back to the earth all while reducing the deadly amounts of carbon in our atmosphere. Composting does this by trapping carbon and nitrogen in the soil, which would otherwise be released as methane, the second highest contributor to climate change.
Food waste is an increasingly difficult issue to manage. Nearly half of all food produced is being disposed of in the US, reeking havoc on our farming, agriculture, and energy industries. However, that waste doesn’t always have to go to the landfills. It can be reused as compost to feed and nourish your soil. Composting in the US has increased, as of 2017, 6.3% of all food was composted, recovering 27 million tons. We are headed in the right direction when it comes to composting, composting curbside collection programs as of 2017 serve 6.1 million households.
There are a few things you might not have known you could compost, one of which being Chic Leaf’s Palm Leaf plates. They are 100% biodegradable and compostable, meaning after you’ve used them, they can return their nutrients back to the earth, unlike other single-use tableware. By adapting more eco-friendly choices like Palm Leaf plates and composting, you can do your part to help the earth.