Breaking Down the Breakdown of a Green Takeout Box



A tasty reuben with haricots verts came home from 12South Taproom in a compostable box from Eco Products, made from sugarcane and supplied for a small extra charge.

The reuben went down the hatch. The box was destined to become an experiment. We decided to assay the power of our compost pile on the breaking down-ability of the box.

The first picture is the box, and the second is the box on the compost pile, awaiting its fate.


A month, two snows, a sleeting, and a rainy day, it looked like the third photo (below right). Clearly, the box was made to withstand a little precipitation.

What the mix needed was microbes, the invisible key to creative decay.

A layer of kitchen waste compost was spread over the box, left there three weeks, then half of the box uncovered for another two weeks.

Buried under the pile (photo below) was the other half of the original box, beginning to fall apart at the edges on its journey to becoming part of next year's garden. (Compostable takeout box discarded Jan. 12, photographed March 24):

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