Alternative Mulch and that Compostable Cup

05 Oct

Hope, Zoey and I were out helping Grandpa Pat on the farm for a little while last night. While Dad was knocking the frame off the big shed door (you can ask him for details), I was gathering up a big pile of soybean straw that Duane emptied out of his combine while fixing something earlier in the day. This was a jackpot for me.

I tried a little mulching experiment last fall that I learned from my friends at the Prairie Arboretum in Freeman, SD. I went out to the bean field where the guys were combining and gathered up the soybean straw that is a byproduct of the combining process. So, this nice big pile right in the middle of the farm yard made it much easier this time. Turns out the stuff works pretty well. My biggest problem, being a windy hill dweller, is keeping my mulch in place instead of down in my neighbors’ yards. I even reused some emptied feed sacks from the silo shed, so it was a green project. Good price (free), recycled packaging, and local and renewable materials. Oh so green goodness…

I also turned the compost in my homemade composter this morning (I dump it out once int he process to stir it all up and put it back in the barrell). This is the compost containing that supposedly compostable cup from Oscar’s Coffee that I put in there on June 22. Well, still looks mostly like a cup to me. The jury’s still out, I guess.


Posted by on October 5, 2008 in compost, garden, going green


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4 responses to “Alternative Mulch and that Compostable Cup

  1. Micheal

    January 2, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    Try an ecotainer coffee cup.It will break down within 60 days. Some biodegradable cups are made from sugar cane and may take quite a while to break down in a commercial composting facility.

  2. joebart

    January 3, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Thanks for the tip Micheal.

  3. Steve

    July 22, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Compostable cups have a difficult time breaking down in a home compost pile when not cut up into little pieces. Most commercial composting facilities have huge grinders to aid in the process and will end up with a fine mix of organics to add to the compost piles. Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that commercial composting facilities are operating on a whole other level in terms of temperatures achieved, oxygen levels, turning, etc. That is why most companies who claim to be selling compostable products are certified by the BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute) and will break down within 90 days at a commercial facility. There is some really good information about this process and similar products to what you used at

  4. dinesh9

    June 22, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Steve makes a couple good points. I also work in the compostable food ware space and it’s really important for folks to understand that these products are meant to break down in a commercial composting environment. There are a variety of possibilities open to folks who don’t have curbside composting pick-up available to them though (including alternative composting methods and ways to look up composting facilites for drop-off and pick-up). You may want to check out for a few of those options.


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