Commercial Composting vs. Home Composting: What is the Difference?

Commercial Composting vs. Home Composting icons

You might have noticed two different labels on BioPak packaging: certified home compostable, and certified commercially compostable. These each refer to the two different methods of composting: at home, or in an industrial (commercial) facility. 

Let’s break down the difference.

Commercial Composting vs. Home Composting packaging productsCommercial Composting vs. Home Composting packaging products

BioPak’s range of compostable packaging comes with two different certifications: certified home compostable (AS5810) and certified commercially compostable (AS4736).

How composting works

Composting is a process that breaks down organic matter through the use of fungi, bacteria, insects, worms and other organisms to create a nutrient-dense ‘compost’. This compost can then be used as a powerful fertiliser and soil conditioner.

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Industrial composting vs home composting

Both forms of composting create a nutrient-rich compost at the end of the process. Industrial composting is able to sustain the temperature and stability of the compost more rigorously.

At the simplest level, home composting produces a nutrient-rich soil as a result of the breakdown of organic waste such as food scraps, grass clippings, leaves, and tea bags. This occurs over a period of months normally in a backyard compost barrel, or a home compost bins. But, the conditions and temperatures for home composting sadly will not break down PLA bioplastic products and isn’t suitable for meat, fish or dairy as the smell can attract vermin.

That’s where we turn to industrial composting – a multi-step, closely monitored composting process with measured inputs of water, air, as well as carbon and nitrogen-rich materials. There are many types of commercial composting – they all optimise each step of the decomposition process, by controlling condition like shredding material to the same size or controlling the temperature and oxygen levels. These measures ensure rapid biodegradation of the organic material to high quality, toxic-free compost.

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Why do composting certifications matter?

Once you know the difference between home and commercial composting, it’s important to note packaging must have certifications to ensure that it is actually compostable. Simply labelling a product “compostable” does not specify how a product can be composted (it may only be able to decompose in a commercial facility or have components such as inks and glue that impact negatively the compost quality). 

That’s why we make sure our compostable packaging products are certified to Australian and European standards so that you always know how to compost our products responsibly.