Frequently Asked Questions


Where can I buy your products?

You can purchase our products online via our our online store or from one of our trusted resellers.

Can I put your products in the freezer/microwave/oven?

You can find product specific information on our product information pages but in general:
Product material Freezer Microwave Oven
Paper Yes (short term storage only) No No
PLA No No No
Sugarcane Yes (short term storage only) Yes No
RPET Yes (short term storage only) No No

Paper and Sugarcane products can go in the freezer, although they are not airtight, so freshness and freezer burn can become issues if left there too long. PLA and RPET 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 on 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 molded fiber products handle liquids and grease?

Lined molded fiber products will hold liquids well are grease and cut resistant. Unlined molded fiber works great too, but like paper, it may be more likely to lose strength when used with very hot foods or liquids.

Can I eat your PLA 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 on fire! This is true for all paper cups, not just ours. We recommend microwaving in glass or ceramic containers labeled as microwave safe.

Is there a warranty on your products?

Yes, and it covers manufacturing defects. The Eco-Products warranty does not cover defects attributable to or resulting from normal use, inappropriate storage, shipping or handling. Eco-Products retains the rights to request that product samples, whether damaged or otherwise, to be returned to Eco-Products for inspection prior to replacement or credit.

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How long does it take your compostable products to break down?

This is a great question with a complex answer! How long it takes something to break down depends on what kind of material it is (e.g., a piece of paper breaks down much more quickly than a corn cob), what kind of composting technology is used (e.g., a backyard pile overseen by a gardener is very different than a commercial facility with millions of dollars in equipment to manage moisture and temperature), and what climate you’re in (e.g., the dry Arizona desert is very different than the humid Pacific Northwest). Most of the compostable products we make are only compostable in commercial facilities, where temperature, moisture, oxygen, and other factors can be carefully monitored. ASTM D6400 and D6868, the composability standards that BPI’s certification is based on, require 90% of a product to have disintegrated in 12 weeks or 84 days. The testing is Pass / Fail, meaning that products may disintegrate in a significantly shorter timeframe, and we know from extensive field testing that many of ours do.

Can I put your compostable products into my backyard compost?

We’d love for you to try it and see what happens, but we suspect it will take longer than you’d like for most of our products to break down in home or backyard environments. Historically, the challenge for home composability claims has been the lack of a third-party standard, which is not surprising given the wide range of conditions and approaches to present in home composting. Still, there are standards in place in Australia and France that BPI is using to develop a standard that can be certified to here in the United States.

Are your compostable products marine degradable?

No, and no other finished items should be claiming marine biodegradability either. TUV offers a material-only certification for marine biodegradability to help in the production of finished items like fishing nets and other goods that are specifically designed for use in ocean environments. That material certification is specifically prohibited from being used on finished items – especially single-use foodservice products – out of the concern that end-users will feel ok discarding these items in the ocean.

If I can't compost, what should I do?

For disposal, naturally we recommend composting if it's available, but if not, please dispose of all foodservice items responsibly. Even if these items head to the landfill, this is preferred to leaving items to escape as litter into the environment. All of our products are made from either renewable resources or post-consumer recycled content, which means there are environmental benefits associated with them regardless of how they are disposed of.

Some 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 break down over time, which is true for most materials on the planet. Since the term applies to almost everything, it is a pretty meaningless claim and one that has enabled the adoption of lookalike products (products that “look” compostable but are not) that create serious contamination problems for composters. “Compostable”, on the other hand, has third-party standards (like ASTM) and certifications (like BPI) associated with it that define specific time frames and environments.

Do your compostable products break down in in-vessel composting units?

Technology has been advancing rapidly with commercial scale in-vessel composting systems, and our products are breaking down in many different versions, though there are some that will not break down compostable products. The best way to find out more is to reach out to our PZW team here.

Do compostable products break down better if they are shredded or chopped into smaller pieces?

Not necessarily, PLA foodservices items will break down at about the same rate regardless of size (extremely large or dense items may take even more time). The composting process primarily depends on heat, moisture, and time, and even small pieces of PLA require the same conditions to start composting. Paper items may break down faster in smaller pieces, but commercial composters know their systems well and often will chop material into the ideal size for their needs.

Do compostable products break down when put into the soil, water, left outside, or stored on shelves?

No, they don't. Our products need the right conditions to compost. They need heat, moisture and microorganisms to fully break down.

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Are your products recyclable?

In short, probably not.Our BlueStripe™ line contains products made with post-consumer recycled materials. Some of these items are nearing a 60% access rate – the rate at which the FTC permits unqualified recycling claims, and SPC’s How2Recycle Label deems items to be “widely recyclable” – but not of them are at that level today. Recycling rates for specific materials, formats, and shapes can vary from year to year and data set to data set, which makes claims of “recyclable” for many items a moving target. BlueStripe cold cups are the closest category to that 60% access benchmark, and it is possible that your community collects and recycles PET cups.

Our GreenStripe® line contains products made with renewable resources that are designed to be composted in commercial facilities. Most of the materials and finished items that make up this line are not collected for recycling today. That said, there is work being done on select materials and product categories to see if recycling could be a possible end-of-life option in addition to composting. Those categories include PLA-lined paper items as well as molded fiber containers, but we are a long way from being able to call either of those categories “recyclable” in a legal sense. Another complicating factor is that many foodservice products are contaminated with food residue, making them less attractive to end markets, regardless of what material they are made from.

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Do compostable products breakdown in landfills?

Compostable items are designed and certified to be compostable in environments – namely those present in commercial composting facilities. Microorganisms, carbon, water, oxygen and nitrogen are all necessary for composting to happen, and the right combination of these elements takes significant operational attention to achieve. None of this happens in a landfill environment.

Do compostable products make methane if they go into landfills?

Methane is the result of organic material like food and yard waste breaking down in an anerobic (oxygen depleted) environment, which is common in US landfills. Compostable products need a very specific set of conditions to be present, including oxygen, to break down. None of these conditions exist in landfills, and compostable products are not likely to be a source of landfill methane.

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Raw Materials

What does the #7 code on your products mean? What number is used for bioplastics?

During the manufacturing of PLA, the multiple-stage processing and high heat used to create the polymer removes all traces of genetic material, rendering it inert once it has been made into resin. Therefore, there is no GM material in our products, even though the feedstock may be GM. Nonetheless, we would prefer that only non-GM plants were used to make in the PLA in our products. We recognize the value of sustainable, organic agriculture and follow the debate and the scientific research surrounding GM crops. One day, we hope to bring you exclusively non-GM PLA, but unfortunately the infrastructure is not there yet for us – or our industry

Do your products contain BPA?

No. Our products are BPA free. The cups and containers we sell are not made from plastics where there is a BPA risk. Most of our plastic products are made with PLA, a plant-based plastic. We're happy to provide verification or more information.

Are your products gluten free? Do they contain any allergens?

We do not intentionally add the following major food allergens as components of our products and to the best of our knowledge, these materials are not present as intentional components in the raw materials used in the manufacturing of our products: milk, egg, fish, crustacean’s shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, soy, peanuts, sunflower seeds, or any meat derived products such as beef or pork.

What is PLA?

PLA or "corn plastic" is a biopolymer made from polylactic acid (PLA) that can be derived from starchy plants like corn, potatoes, tapioca, sugarcane, 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.

Is PLA or corn plastic edible?

PLA is FDA approved for food contact and well-suited for a variety of packaging applications, but it is not recommended for human or animal consumption.

What if I am allergic to corn?

While PLA is a corn-derived plastic, the extreme heat used in processing transforms it considerably and destroys any immunologically reactive profilin. Because of this, PLA should not cause an allergic reaction.

Do you use genetically modified (GM) corn in your products?

During the manufacturing of PLA, the multiple-stage processing and high heat used to create the polymer removes all traces of genetic material, rendering it inert once it has been made into resin. Therefore, there is no GM material in our products, even though the feedstock may be GM. Nonetheless, we would prefer that only non-GM plants were used to make in the PLA in our products. We recognize the value of sustainable, organic agriculture and follow the debate and the scientific research surrounding GM crops. One day, we hope to bring you exclusively non-GM PLA, but unfortunately the infrastructure is not there yet for us – or our industry. If GMOs are a concern for you, we offer our BlueStripe line of products made with post-consumer recycled content, such as recycled paper, PET, and polystyrene. These products do not contain any plant-based/GM material and perform very well.

Because PLA is made from inputs such as corn and sugar, do your PLA products take away from the food supply?

Currently, our major supplier of PLA uses the dextrose made from No. 2 yellow dent corn – the most abundant and cheapest source of a fermentable sugar available in the U.S. Less than one percent of the available U.S. corn crop is used for this purpose. In addition, only part of the corn kernel is used to make PLA. Other parts are used to make ingredients for salad dressing, snack foods, pet feed, and more, thereby allowing a single kernel of corn to produce both PLA and food products. We also source some PLA that is made from sugar. While we are not aware of any concerns about sugar-derived PLA taking away from the food supply, we are actively working to better understand the environmental and social issues related to our sugarcane supply chain. Check out our latest sustainability report to read more about this and other sustainability commitments.

Will PLA melt in extreme heat?

Yes. We recommend that our PLA containers 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. Keep in mind that our Plantware™ cutlery is made with a slightly different process that gives it a heat tolerance of about 200°F (93°C).

What are Sugarcane and Bamboo?

Sugarcane is a renewable, plant-based resource that is grown primarily for cane juice extraction. Once the juice is extracted, the remaining sugarcane fiber, known as bagasse, is commonly incinerated or discarded. By using bagasse as a material input for our molded fiber products, we are helping to promote the reclamation of this versatile, renewable resource.   Bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world and is considered a rapidly renewable resource with many climate benefits. Many bamboo species sequester more carbon than their tree counterparts and reintroduce more oxygen to the atmosphere. According to Project Drawdown, bamboo rapidly sequesters carbon in biomass and soil and can thrive on degraded lands.  Since bamboo grows from its own root system, it does not require an ecosystem-disturbing replanting process and is naturally renewable. This helps the soil remain undisturbed, which aids in water retention and preventing soil erosion. It can also provide economic benefits to its farmers, as it can be grown on land that may not be suitable for other agricultural purposes, due to its versatility. Bamboo can be composted at the end of its life.  We use sugarcane and bamboo in our broad array of GreenStripe® molded fiber products including plates, bowls, and trays. 

Are your molded fiber products GMO free?

No. Our sugarcane products are not 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 assure that it is free of GMO material.

Are your molded fiber products bleached with chlorine?

We whiten our bagasse with a process that uses chlorine dioxide, but not elemental chlorine. Elemental chlorine (Cl2) generates compounds called dioxins, which are very bad for human health. Chlorine dioxide (ClO2) (used in our whitening process) does not generate dioxins and is thus the better choice.

What is RPET(Post-Consumer Reycled Polyethylene Terephalate (PET))?

PET is one of the most common plastics in the world. You have probably seen this plastic in your soda and water bottles that are marked with the resin code #1. PET is petroleum-based and is one of the most commonly recycled plastics – particularly when it is in bottle form. Post-consumer recycled PET (rPET) provides a new life to plastics that would have otherwise gone to a landfill, while also creating opportunities for other products to be made from a post-consumer resource. We use the highest amount of rPET that we possibly can in the different products we make from this material – anywhere from 30% – 100%. Fewer virgin traditional PET + more post-consumer recycled PET = a lower product carbon footprint potential and supports a more circular approach to resource use. We use post-consumer recycled PET (rPET) in our BlueStripe cold cups and lids, as well as in many of the lids that go on molded fiber bases. NONE of these items are compostable.

Is your rPET pre- or post-consumer recycled?

We use post-consumer recycled PET plastic in our cups and containers. That way the recycled resin, rPET, becomes more accepted and valuable as people see how easy it is to include in regular items.

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How do you certify your compostable products?

The Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) is the leading authority on compostable products and packaging in North America and has been certifying materials and finished goods since 1999. All products and materials certified by BPI meet ASTM standards for composability, as well as the following three elements not required by ASTM: 

Eligibility Requirements – Only items that are associated with desirable feedstocks like food scraps and yard trimming are eligible for BPI Certification. This helps keep the total volume of packaging in organics streams lower, which gives composters accepting compostable products a better chance at managing contamination from non-compostable products. 

Fluorinated Chemicals (PFAS) – BPI's standard for fluorinated chemicals went into effect on January 1, 2020. Products may no longer be claimed as BPI-Certified unless they meet all conditions of the rule, including no intentionally added fluorinated chemicals, a test report showing less than 100 ppm total organic fluorine, and a technical review of the formulation. 

Labeling Requirements – No organization has done more work on compostable product labeling than BPI. Part of that work entails reviewing every piece of product and packaging artwork to make sure the BPI Certification Mark is present, and to help guide other labeling decisions. 

For a complete list of our BPI-Certified products, please click here.

Is there a certification for field testing?

The Compost Manufacturing Alliance (CMA) is a for profit entity that offers field disintegration testing in several prominent processing methods (Windrow, Covered In-Vessel, and Modified Aerated Static Pile).   Despite the absence of an ASTM standard or test method for field disintegration testing, it has become an important data point for composters, particularly as processing technologies and time-frame requirements have evolved. CMA’s allowable disintegration time frames vary by technology – 90 days for Windrow, 60 days for Modified ASP, and 46 days for Covered In-Vessel.  The ASTM compostability standards require 12 weeks or 84 days for disintegration, so the notion that there is a significant gap between allowable field and lab disintegration time frames has never been grounded in fact. More likely, the 12 week / 84 day disintegration time frame is being confused with the 180 day biodegradation time frame. Biodegradation testing is a critical piece of the verification process, and can only be done in a lab.  What field testing does document is that conditions in real world composting environments are dynamic and variable. That variability is more difficult to account for in lab tests that hold things like heat and moisture constant. The challenge, however, is to generate test results in these variable, “real world” environments that composters, manufacturers, and others can rely on. That’s one reason why an ASTM or other third-party standard for field testing is so critical.   To view lists of our CMA-Approved products by technology, please use the following links: CMA-H, CMA-I, CMA-W, CMA-S, CMA-MSAP 

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The Company

Where can I buy your products?

You can purchase our products online via our our online store or from one of our trusted resellers.

Where is Eco-Products located?

We are located in beautiful Boulder, Colorado.

How long has Eco-Products been in business?

Eco-Products, Inc. has been in business since 1990.

Does Eco-Products carry every compostable food service product available?

Although we are confident that we have the widest selection of compostable food service products available, we do not claim that we carry every compostable food service product that is made. Technology for compostable products is improving everyday. We try to keep up with all of the latest innovations and we are open to carrying any product that meets our product qualifications.

How can I invest in Eco-Products?

Eco-Products is part of Novolex. Individual stock in Eco-Products is not available.

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