Follow up Friday: Do "Compostable" Bags Really Compost?

Have you tried composting any of the “compostable” produce bags that have shown up in some grocery stores? How did it go?

This is a follow-up to an earlier Scam Watch about “compostable” bags from local Natural Grocers and Trader Joes stores.

To recap: the bags say, in big letters “COMPOSTABLE” and in small letters “not suitable for backyard composting,” or suitable only for composting “in industrial facilities.”

I tossed the Trader Joe’s bag into the backyard bin to see what would happen.

And … …

The bag completely disappeared. Maybe bits are in there, but I couldn’t find them. It looks like Trader Joe’s bags really do break down.

Of course, it doesn’t matter very much. A lot of Trader Joe’s produce is pre-packaged in non-compostable plastic.

And it raises questions:

Break down into what? Something I’m going to be happy adding to my garden?

Since I wrote the first Scam Watch, the city has started a kitchen waste collection program. Can we put these bags into the yard waste bins the local garbage collectors pick up?

To be addressed in later posts!

For now, a bit of good news. Maybe.


  • Excellent points here. The laudable City kitchen waste program is causing some ambivalence in our household. On the one hand, they do allow bones and eggshells (two things that we can’t put in our backyard compost bin because they won’t break down). On the other hand, the City program doesn’t allow coffee filters (which we CAN put on our backyard bin and which break down fine). Also, unless we are able to add keep lots of garden clippings to that City bin — and even turn it once in awhile — the kitchen scraps start to smell. The City only picks up that bin every other week, so it sits for two weeks, rotting and attracting bears. (In other neighborhoods, I imagine they attract rats.). The City program is great and I hope it works to reduce what goes into the landfill! But for us, backyard composting works better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My yard waste bin is closer to the kitchen than the composter, and so … it is a little too easy to pile up egg shells and bones and dump them in the yard waste. Oh, but rats. Yeah. No. Good point.


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