Are compostable plastic bags really compostable? Part 1

Part 1 of an experiment in home composting.

I am conducting an experiment to see whether The Guardian’s compostable bags do actually degrade in a home compost heap.

I have been using compostable plastic bags in my normal composting activities for several years but in order to run this experiment I decided to build a separate new compost bin and start a new pile from scratch. So today I have created a new heap in my brand new bin, using two loads of kitchen compost waste in separate compostable bags. One is from a Saturday edition of The Guardian, the other is from the normal range I buy in my local supermarket, made by the Irish company Greensax. I put both of these into the bin and added in some extra kitchen waste, some in a brown paper compost bag, the rest just a random pile of peelings, teabags, used coffee grounds, apple cores and the like. This is the pile shown in the photograph below, resting on some old slats at the bottom of the bin.

I then added a small amount of other garden waste (some grass cuttings and some specially cut nettles) and topped the whole thing off with a couple of spadefuls of compost from one of the other bins which have already done their work.

Here is what the new bin looked like this afternoon, after I had finished work:

I will keep on adding ordinary garden and kitchen waste to this over the next month, and then turn the heap over how much of the two plastic bags have disintegrated. Watch this space!


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