By Orven Mallari | July 17, 2020
At Grantas, we focus on clean beauty that is good for your skin and for the environment. In an effort to realize a zero-waste future, we are proud to say that our tubes are 100% biodegradable and compostable. This means that when left outdoors, our products will undergo rapid chemical reactions that will return the material to the ground. As recycling rates for paper and cardboard have been stagnant over the past decade, composting can provide the final push we need to eliminate paper from landfills, and to move towards a circular economy. Here are some easy steps that you can take to contribute to the growing composting movement, whether you choose to make your own compost pile or contribute to an existing site!
Photo from Edward Howell from Unsplash
Making Your Own Compost Pile
If you have the space to start making your own compost, we highly recommend that you do so! It’s an extremely rewarding experience that provides you with what the composting community calls “brown gold”--nutritious compost that brings life to your garden.
To make a compost heap - the simplest type of compost that doesn’t require complex tools.
Photo from Markus Spiske from Unsplash
Composting Tips for Starters
If possible, start making your compost in the fall. This is the time when the environment is simply richest in carbon and nitrogen sources. Think of all the fallen leaves you can pile in there!
Choose a partially-shaded, level area with good drainage. You can dig a hole that is around 3 ft deep, or use a compost bin if you prefer. Here is the fun part! For the heap to work, there needs to be a balance between greens and browns. The simplest and most effective ratio is 3 parts browns to 1 part greens. For an extremely rapid decomposition time, some recommend a browns to greens ratio of 30 to 1.
Green materials have a lot of nitrogen in them that help the bacteria in the pile grow and multiply - here’s looking at you, fruit/vegetable scraps, grass and weeds, coffee/tea grounds, or eggshells! Brown materials have loads of carbon in them that serve as the food source for the bacteria. Think of anything dry, woody, or brittle - dry leaves, small twigs, or cardboard!
Make sure to lightly water the pile throughout the additive process as you want the compost heap to start out damp (but not too wet!). Then, use your trusty shovel/pitchfork to turn the compost pile over every 3-7 days.
Contrary to popular belief, this compost heap will not stink up your backyard! This misconception is due to common mistakes that beginners make when adding the wrong stuff to their compost pile. Some of these stinkers are (1) meat, dairy, and oil products, (2) manure, especially from non-herbivore animals, (3) moldy/diseased plants, and (4) charcoal ash.
If you still catch some bad whiffs from your pile, try increasing the ratio of browns to greens or turning your pile more often to aerate it.
Prepping Your Tubes
Usually, cardboard products need to go through extra steps before they can get into the compost pile. Some of these annoying steps include ripping off tape, shredding it to bits with your hands, and peeling off waxy exterior layers. But because Grantas’s paperboard tubes are wrapped in soy ink printed paper, they are 100% compostable, meaning that you can just toss them into your compost pile, and voila! Under the right conditions, they should turn into nutritious, dark brown compost within a year’s time, sometimes as fast as 2-5 months. For best results, it is recommended that you use up the whole make-up stick before deciding to put it in the pile. Yes - you can truly just toss them in!
Photo from Alfonso Navarro from Unsplash
Finding Your Local Composting Facilities
Does composting sound too time-consuming for you? Do you want to contribute to the composting movement but don’t have enough space in your living area? Not a problem! This website provides a handy map that redirects you to urban composting services all across the United States. Just type your zip code in, and if you live in a city, chances are there is a composting service near you that would love to take your compostable materials. These subscriptions often reduce household waste that goes to landfill by up to 60%. If you don’t have the capability to make your own compost heap, these programs might be a good fit for you.
All in all, making paper products easier to compost makes a huge difference in how much gets reused and how much ends up in landfills. There is a lot of untapped potential in composting paperboard. By itself, paperboard is a good brown material--it presents an excellent alternative to dried leaves and other organic matter that may be less available in urban environments, especially during colder months.
Happy composting y’all!
About the Author: Orven Mallari is currently a senior at Yale University. As an Environmental Engineering major, they are passionate about pursuing sustainable solutions to tackle global issues. When not reading up on environmental justice, they spend their time watching Premier League soccer, dreaming about visiting every National Park across the U.S., and cooking pasta.