The first company to use polylactic acid resin for milk bottles, Naturally Iowa, Inc., of Clarinda, IA, has solved the conundrum of limited compost capabilities to handle its compostable packaging. The company, which now also offers spring water and drinkable yogurt in PLA containers, has joined with GreenGuard Associates, Inc., a designer of compact industrial compost systems, to provide its customers with in-house composting capabilities.
As part of the exclusive agreement, Naturally Iowa's products, packaged in Ingeo™ biopolymer bottles from NatureWorks LLC, will be offered to foodservice and institutional customers together with GreenGuard's Orca Green™ composting system. This results in a "Closed Loop" environment, whereby used bottles can be composted and returned to nature.
The Orca Green unit is a compact bioreactor that uses low-temperature aerobic composting via natural microorganisms to decompose organic waste into liquid “compost tea” and trace amounts of CO2. According to GreenGuard, the dispensed tea is a natural byproduct and dissipates into the environment harmlessly. In addition, the microorganism used to initiate the process is also said to be natural and harmless to the environment. The Orca line is capable of composting up to 2,000 lb of waste per day from organic food waste and biocompostable resins and materials. The system is designed to fit into limited-floorspace environments (The smallest unit measures approximately 50 x 36 x 47 in. and weighs 926 lb.).
"Teaming up with GreenGuard helps to fulfill my dream of building a true environmental solution for the 'end of life' issues associated with used water and dairy bottles," says Bill Horner, CEO and founder of Naturally Iowa. "We built Naturally Iowa from the beginning incorporating the environmental benefits of the compostable Ingeo bottle…. The Ingeo bottle is made from U.S. corn, not foreign oil, and requires significantly less energy to produce…. With the Orca Green composting system, we now have a complete environmental solution for customers."
Says Bob Humberstone, sales director for GreenGuard, "The innovative technology of our Orca Green system reduces waste and recycling costs for customers, and it speeds up the time needed for composting. The Orca Green system also lowers trash hauling and related energy costs. Additionally, the system cuts landfill waste and reduces carbon footprint. Orca Green, in partnership with Naturally Iowa's compostable bottles, is an excellent way for customers to manage costs and reduce waste, while demonstrating a strong commitment to environmental stewardship."