Can I put your products in the freezer/microwave/oven?
You can find product-specific information on our catalog product pages, but in general:
Paper and Sugarcane products can go in the freezer, though they are not airtight, so freshness and freezer burn can become issues if left there too long. Ingeo™ clear PLA items can become brittle when frozen, so we don't recommend putting these products in the freezer.
While our hot cups, soup cups, and some containers are designed for hot foods, they are not designed for the extreme heat of the microwave. Microwaves will cause them to warp, leak, or even catch fire. Unless a disposable product says "microwave safe" on it, it's a good idea to use a glass container to reheat your food instead.
Can sugarcane products handle liquids and grease?
Sugarcane products will hold liquids well, and are grease and cut resistant. But like paper, they may be more likely to lose strength when used with very hot foods or liquids.
Can I eat your products or feed them to my animals?
No, our products are not edible. They are FDA approved for food contact but are not considered edible/digestible. Even though many of our products are derived from plants, they are plastic and should not be eaten.
Why can't I put your paper cups or soup cups in the microwave?
Paper hot cups and soup cups are designed to hold hot drinks and food, but not to withstand the extreme heat of a microwave. At best, the glue at the seam can loosen and the cup will start to leak. At worst, the cups can even catch fire! This is true for all paper cups, not just ours. We recommend microwaving in glass or ceramic containers labeled as microwave safe.
Does Stalk Market offer a warranty for its products?
Yes, Stalk Market warrants the products supplied to be free from manufacturing defects. The Stalk Market warranty does not cover defects attributable to or resulting from normal use, inappropriate storage, shipping or handling. Stalk Market retains the right to request product samples, whether damaged or otherwise, to be returned to Stalk Market at a determined destination for inspection prior to replacement or credit for said goods.
If a replacement is made, Stalk Market shall have a reasonable time to deliver such replacement goods. If, after inspection, Stalk Market determines that the products are defective, we will offer replacement product or credit.
How long does it take your compostable products to break down?
Our compostable products break down in a commercial compost facility in fewer than 180 days. Many of our products actually break down in as little as 45-60 days, depending on the material type.
The Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) uses scientifically based standards to determine if a product is compostable in a commercial facility, so look for the words "BPI Certified" on our products and you can be confident that your product will break down quickly in a commercial facility.
Can I put your compostable products into my backyard compost?
We recommend disposing of PLA products in a commercial compost facility where they can be broken down, turned into compost, and returned to the soil. Home composting typically does not create the consistent composting conditions needed for our products, whereas commercial facilities can manage just fine.
Commercial compost facilities are expanding throughout the country and there may be one in your area. To find a compost facility near you, please visit the US EPA website or check out Find A Composter.
Are your compostable products marine degradable?
No, our products are not certified as marine degradable and we strongly encourage everyone to keep all plastics out of oceans and waterways.
If I can't compost, what should I do?
We naturally recommend composting if it's available. If not, please dispose of all foodservice items responsibly. Even sending items to the landfill is preferred to leaving them to escape as litter into the environment. There is still an important environmental benefit to choosing Eco-Products items over traditional foam or plastic items that contain no recycled content or renewable materials.
Most of your products are compostable. Is that the same as biodegradable?
The terms "biodegradable" and "compostable" are not equivalent or interchangeable. "Biodegradable" simply means something will be broken down by microbes, over time, which is true for most materials on the planet. An aluminum can is "biodegradable"...if you wait 200 years. Since this term applies to almost everything, it is a pretty meaningless claim and one that has been significantly abused through greenwashing. By contrast, "compostable" means something will break down in a reasonable amount of time, leave behind no toxic residue, and safely become an additive to soil.
Our products are certified compostable by a third-party organization called BPI, and they meet the strict third-party standards for each material type. That's why our products are labeled "compostable" and not "biodegradable". In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) publishes Green Guides that outline rules for environmental marketing claims, and all of our claims of compostability are in compliance. For more information, see https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/media-resources/truth-advertising/green-guides .
Do your compostable products break down in a digester or accelerated composter?
PLA items do not break down well in most digesters. Technology is always changing, so we hope that more digesters will work with PLA in the near future. For now, we recommend that PLA goes only into a land-based commercial compost facility.
Do compostable products break down better if they are shredded or chopped into smaller pieces?
Not necessarily, but chopping or shredding larger items into smaller pieces will allow the microbes that do the composting more surface area to work their magic and do the composting process much more quickly and uniformly. Commercial composters know their systems well, and oftentimes chop material down to the ideal size for their needs.
Do compostable products break down when put into the soil or water, left outside, or stored on shelves?
No, they don't. Our sugarcane and Ingeo™ products need the right conditions - heat, moisture and microorganisms - to compost and break down fully. Soil, water, and retail shelves do not provide an optimum environment for composting.
Learn more about PLA go directly to Ingeo™ manufacturer NatureWorks http://www.natureworksllc.com/FAQs .
Are your products recyclable?
Composting, by its very nature, is a form of recycling. You are recycling natural material items back into soil humus to grow new plants. However, placing the products into more mainstream paper, plastic, and similar recycling systems is not recommended.
Note: It can be tricky to tell the difference between a clear PLA corn cup and a nearly identical cup made from petroleum-derived plastic like PET, or even recycled PET. Check out the resin identification number on the bottom of the cup – PLA cups are labeled with #7 and PET cups are #1.
Many recycling facilities can have problems with PLA items, so it is important to separate compostables from recyclables into "clean" waste streams. Because PLA plastics and PET/PP/PS plastics mix about as well as oil and water, recyclers consider PLA a contaminant, and compost facilities have a hard time cleaning PET/PP/PS plastics out of their compost. Always be sure to put your compostables and recyclables in the correct bins!
Are your hot cups and soup cups recyclable?
Today, very few communities recycle paper hot cups of any type. This is because separating the cups' film lining from the paper can be difficult, and because food contamination can decrease the value of the material.
Hot cups in our Planet+® line are made with renewable resources. These cups are made with paper from trees harvested in North America, lined with Ingeo™ PLA bioplastic made from plant sugars grown in the U.S. They are certified to be commercially composted after use. If you are not lucky enough to have a commercial composter in your area, these cups should be sent to the landfill.
Do compostable products breakdown in landfills?
Compostable items are designed to be composted only in a compost heap, windrow, or pile. Composting is a very specific process that does not occur in landfills. Microorganisms, carbon, water, oxygen, and nitrogen are all essential parts of the compost process, and these factors need to be present in the right environment (such as in a compost pile) for composting to occur.
If compostable products are placed in an open landfill or dump where oxygen is available, they will decompose at a rate similar to other biodegradable materials in the same setting. If compostable products are placed in the more common anaerobic (air-locked or capped) landfill and deprived of oxygen and micro-organisms, the ability of the compostable products to decompose will be severely restricted. This is true of all biodegradable materials placed in such a setting, including paper, yard waste, and food waste. This also applies to plastics such as PP/PET, which contain additives that claim to break down the plastic in oxygen-free environments like landfills, but those claims have proven untrue.
As a consumer, you should be skeptical of any manufacturer making claims that their products will biodegrade quickly in an air-locked landfill. Stalkmarket clearly labels and certifies all of our compostable products to help consumers and composters alike.
Do compostable products make methane if they go into landfills?
In a sealed and capped landfill (the most common type of landfill in the U.S.), our products and most plastics will remain stable and will not, as far as we know, be a significant contributor to methane emissions. Compostable PLA plastic breaks down best with aerobic composting, which is not a significant source of methane. Composting is a specific aerobic (oxygen-rich) process which occurs only in compost piles, not inside sealed anaerobic (oxygen-deprived) landfills.
Methane in anaerobic (air-locked or capped) landfills results from organic materials being deprived of oxygen and micro-organisms. Over long periods of time, organic material degrades slowly, anaerobically, resulting in the creation of methane gas, which is more harmful to the atmosphere than CO2 over its lifetime. Landfills are the second largest source of man-made methane emissions in the U.S., much of which is attributed to the long legacy of organic matter decomposing anaerobically. This is why it is more important than ever to keep as much organic matter, like food scraps, yard waste, and agricultural waste, out of the landfill.
Plastics are generally stable in the landfill and things like foam will stick around for a very long time – we are not sure when they will ever really break down.
What does the #7 code on your products mean? What number is used for bioplastics?
The number inside the chasing arrow symbol is called a "resin code", indicating the type of plastic the product is made with. On our products, the #7 code indicates Ingeo™ PLA.
In the wider world of plastic containers, the #7 is a catchall category that includes a variety of plastics and plastic composites. So keep in mind that not all containers labeled with #7 are made with PLA. Look for additional labeling like "Compostable" or "BPI" to determine if a container is compostable.
- US EPA Resource Conservation Page for Plastics - http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/plastics.htm
- Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) - http://bpiworld.org
Do your products contain BPA?
No. Never have and never will. Simple as that. Our products are BPA free.
What is Ingeo™?
Ingeo™ is a brand of PLA (aka "plant sugar plastic"), which is a biopolymer made from polylactic acid derived from starchy plants like corn, potatoes, tapioca, sugarcane, sugar beets, and soy protein. In the U.S., PLA is typically made from corn kernels that are milled and processed to extract the starch, which is then converted into plastic.
Learn More: https://www.natureworksllc.com
Will Ingeo™ melt in extreme heat?
Yes. We recommend that our Ingeo clear PLA containers, cups, and lids be stored at temperatures less than 105°F (40°C). Remember to keep these products out of direct sunlight and in a cool, dry place.
Our Jaya™ cutlery is made with a different process that gives it a heat tolerance of about 200°F (93°C), and our Planet+ hot cups, lids and accessorial items are heat tolerant to 185-200 degrees F.
What is bagasse (sugarcane)?
Bagasse/sugarcane is a 100% pre-consumer recycled byproduct of making sugar. When sugarcane stalks are harvested, they're pressed to release juices that are processed into sugar. Rather than burning or throwing the used fibrous stalks away, the fibrous pulp is made into a paper-pulp substance called bagasse, which is then formed into a wide variety of products like containers, plates, and bowls.
How long does bagasse (sugarcane) take to fully biodegrade in the compost?
Bagasse or sugarcane is fully compostable and breaks down best in commercial compost facilities. In commercial composting conditions, bagasse will compost in approximately 45-60 days.
However, we have had customers tell us they've successfully used our bagasse containers for seed starts for plants in their garden, starting the seeds with some planting soil in the containers in their kitchens, then transplanting the entire container and sprouted plant (tomatoes, flowers, etc.) once warmer weather arrived. The containers composted in the garden while allowing the plants to grow and thrive.
Are your sugarcane products GMO free?
Yes. Our sugarcane products are GMO free. But not certified GMO free. This would require sourcing only certified organic sugarcane. Since the sugarcane used in our products is grown in Asia and is not certified USDA organic, we cannot claim that it is free of GMO material under current regulations. However, Sugarcane is a tropical grass that is self propagating, meaning it grows like grass in your yard… You mow it and it grows right back.. Sugarcane is the same way, When it is harvested you are ‘mowing” it and in 9-16 months it grows back and is harvested again. NO new plant seeds are used etc.. Hence no need for a GMO type seed to be used… Simply does not make sense to use GMO seeds on a self propating plant that is growing back naturally repeatedly.
Are your sugarcane products bleached with chlorine?
We whiten our bagasse with a process that uses chlorine dioxide and/or hydrogen peroxide, not elemental chlorine. Elemental chlorine (Cl2) generates compounds called dioxins, which are very bad for human health. The chlorine dioxide (ClO2) used in our whitening process does not generate dioxins, and is thus the better choice.
The term "bleached" or "bleaching" means to wash and clean, and does not imply the use of a chlorine-based bleaching agent. If you leave a bright colored shirt or sweater in the sun (say a red sweater) it will turn pink in a very short time, and we would call it "bleached" even though no chlorine or other chemicals were involved at all.
Even brown or kraft colored foodservice items have been "bleached" to clean the fibers. Virgin unbleached fibers of all kinds are a dull grey; the kraft color is added for consistency.
How do certify your compostable products?
Our compostable items meet the BPI ASTM standards for compostability. They are certified to meet these standards by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), which uses scientifically based and certified standards to determine if a product is compostable in a commercial facility. Products cannot contain the BPI logo unless they have been officially certified. So look for the words "BPI Certified" and you can be confident that your product will break down in a commercial facility.