Last month we partnered with Joraform to test our products in one of their in-vessel compost machines, the Jora 400, at La Cuccina in Hout Bay.

La Cuccina have recently acquired a Jora 400 to turn their food waste into nutrient rich compost on-site. They were happy for us to see how our biodegradable food packaging broke down mixed in with their food waste.

We tested a wide range of products, including Sugarcane Containers, Hot Cups & Lids, Cold Cups & Lids, Wooden & CPLA Cutlery, Deli Bowls, Sandwich Wedges, Boats and Bioplastic Bags,

Stuart Lindley from Joraform ensured that we added our samples at the right time, when the food waste was in the early stages of breaking down. At this stage the microbial activity generates good heat which speeds up the composting process. The Jora 400 is well insulated, keeping the heat inside. This results in large-scale composting temperatures of 50 – 75°C on a small scale.  When we opened the hatch steam poured out, fogging up our glasses and product samples.

Martin and the Jora 400 with our products inside at the start of the trial. Martin manages the composting at La Cuccina. 

These composting conditions are great for composting PLA bioplastic products. These products begin breaking down quickly when exposed to composting temperatures of 50°C and above. We placed 29 PLA samples in the Jora, and all of them had completely broken down by the end of the trial, less than 4 weeks later. In fact, to our surprise, we could find only a few pieces of them only 1 week into the trial.

The rest of our products also broke down well. The trial lasted 26 days, which is very short for a compost trial. But the Jora 400 works fast, and almost everything was gone. We found 5 products remaining out of a total 44 at the end. These products were sugarcane, wood cellulose and wood-based. They looked like they would break down fully in another one to three weeks. See some pics below.

Above are some of the products that we found at the end of the trial (on the Right), and the same products one week into the trial (on the Left). All of them had softened considerably and were breaking down well but needed a little more time. 

We are very excited to have finally tested our products in one of the Joraform in-vessel compost machines, and are extremely pleased with the results. We will be testing more products in one of their large machines, the JK 5100, soon. So stay posted for those results.