acceptable compostable bags: our approach

Tear Top Shape

Published February 13th, 2024

As the composting industry evolves across the nation and our region, you’ve very likely noticed changes in what is acceptable and not acceptable in your compost bin. One of these key changes: there is a shift toward CMA approval for compostable products, instead of BPI certification.

Why is this happening? Simply put, the CMA approval process – overseen by the Compost Manufacturing Alliance – is based on decomposition in actual compost piles, whereas BPI certification is based on decomposition performance in a laboratory setting. Over time, compost manufacturers (or processors – essentially, the folks who turn your organic scraps into finished compost) have been noting that unfortunately, often times products with BPI certification did not truly decompose in their compost piles, leaving behind partially decomposed bits of material that essentially was treated as contamination. The CMA approval process is designed to ensure that this doesn’t happen. More on that in our other blog post!

That’s why we’re only accepting compostable bags that are CMA approved. And because bags are so prevalent in the compost stream, we take it a step further: for bags, we only accept brands that are also approved by our regional compost processing partners here in the Front Range – notably, A1 Organics, our key partner. A1 maintains an updated list of acceptable CMA-approved compostable bags, here.

Not to add to the confusion (!!), but note that Scraps customers can use bags of any size by these approved brands – we are not limited to a 3-gallon bag size or smaller. That’s because of our proven commitment to partnering with our members to ensure minimal contamination in their bagged compostables, through mandatory training, engaging educational posters and other materials, and sophisticated software that constructively informs our members of any contamination incidents, paired with a photo & steps to prevent future contamination. This is especially critical for our larger commercial members, where multiple compost bins often in public and front-of-house areas can be more susceptible to contamination.

As the industry and our regional composting systems continue to evolve, we are sure to see more CMA-approved bag manufacturers added to this list, a more widespread awareness and use of the CMA approval process, and other changes. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if these issues (and this post!) leave you with more questions than answers!

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