Corn-based utensils booted from compost heap

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In Oregon, Republic Services has banned corn-based silverware and cups made by a local company from its compost collection services because they don’t break down fast enough. The trash hauler said that composting bins containing the products would be dumped and charged the trash rate.

The products are made by Corvallis’ EcNow Tech and are used by several companies in Corvallis, Albany, Lebanon, and Salem, as well as Oregon State University.

“A lot of our customers really feel let down,” EcNow president Chris Vitello tells Corvallis Gazette Times. “[Corvallis was] headed on a path to be a benchmark for waste reduction. It seems like we’ve taken a huge step backwards.”

Several local businesses indicated they would continue to use EcNow’s products despite the added expense of paying for it to be treated as trash instead of compost.

Mary Bentley, owner of Valley Catering in Adair Village, said the “green” silverware is better for the environment to produce, and will disappear from landfills much faster than petroleum-based plastics.

“We’re still going to use all-compostable products. We still think it’s the right thing to do,” said Garry Weyhrich, manager of Local Boyz Hawaiian Café.