5 August 2010 - 20:36Compostable cup update

The cups have been buried for two months now. I dug them up and took a look:

Cups after two months in the ground

Cups after two months in the ground

The compostable cup is on the left, with the control cup on the right. They don’t look too much different to me. There are more cracks in the compostable cup, but that might just be due to different mechanical properties or having been abused differently in the burial.

I have reinterred both cups. We’ll see what happens. Having read some more about compostable plastic, I am not optimistic. It can decompose in a warm compost heap into nothing but carbon dioxide and water, but when buried without air it can anaerobically become methane, which is a worse greenhouse gas. If cups are going to be put into landfills, it’s probably better if they’re normal plastic and don’t decay. This will at least sequester the carbon. Still, for the sake of my experiment, I will leave this one in the ground. What’s a little methane between scientists?

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