Frequently Asked Questions


 

Ordering and Account Information

Q: Do I need to set up an account before I can order online?
No.  When you register and place your first order, an account is automatically set up for you.

Q: How do I place an order under $2,500?
Customers who plan to order less than $2,500 worth of products per month can place their orders through our online store with a credit card or through PayPal.

Q: How do I place a large order over $2,500?
Customers placing larger orders are invited to open an account with terms with World Centric. If you are interested in opening an account, please call 707-241-9190 and press option #2 to speak to someone in our sales department.

Q: Where can I check on my orders, billing or update my profile?

Account and tracking information can be found for current and past order in “My Account”:

  1. Login to your account
  2. Select:  My Account
  3. Under the ORDERS column select:  See all Transactions
  4. Click on the sales order number
  5. Scroll down the page to the shipping box.  Your UPS tracking number will be listed there, generally the day after the shipment has left our warehouse.
Q: What if a product is listed as “Out of Stock”?
If an item is listed as "Out of Stock" please contact us or call 707-241-9190 to speak to customer service for an estimated date of availability and/or to see if we can suggest a comparable item instead.

Q: Are World Centric’s products available in stores?
Our retail line is available in many  retail stores and markets nationwide including Whole Foods, Fresh and Easy, and Cost Plus World Market.  Click here for our Store Locator.

 

Custom Designs and Printing

Q: Do you do custom printing?
Yes! For more information, please visit our Custom Printing page.

Q: What if I don’t want any writing on the cup?

If you do not want any writing on our products  you can special order them with a minimum production of 100,000 units and 2 months lead time.

NOTE: We encourage our purchasers to leave the compostable symbol on the cup. It helps end-users identify the cup as compostable and encourages them to disposable of the item in a compost system.
 

 

Pricing and Discounts

Q: How do World Centric  prices compare to non-compostable alternatives like plastic and Styrofoam?
Our prices are comparable to prices for high-quality plastics and paper.

Q: Are discounts available?
World Centric offers discounts to established distributors and to direct clients ordering over $5000/month. Please call 707-241-9190 and press option #2 to speak to someone in our sales department.

We also offer 20% discounts to preschools and  K-12 schools, and nonprofits working on social, environmental, human rights, and peace issues.

Q: Do schools qualify for discounts?
We offer discounts to K-12 schools and for nonprofit organizations on university campuses.

For more information, please visit our Discounts page.

Q: Can all products be discounted?
We are not able to discount certain items such as 5-compartment school trays, clearance/sale items, retail items, and samples. For more information please click here or call Customer Service at 707-241-9190.

 

Shipping & Handling

Q: When will my order ship?
Orders received before 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time one business day will ship out the next business day.  Normal business hours for World Centric are Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time.   Please see our website for our holiday schedule.

Q: Why did I only get part of my order?
Orders may ship from multiple locations as we have warehouses on the west and east coasts.  For more information on shipping, handling, and processing, please visit our Shipping page. Please contact customer service at 707-241-9190, option 0 for any questions about placing, processing or tracking your order, or on our Contact Us page.

Q: Can I track my order?
You can track your package on UPS.com with the tracking number sent via email on the day your order shipped.  If over a business week has passed since you received your order confirmation and you still have not received your order, please call Customer Service at 707-241-9190, option 0.

Q: What if I need my order by a certain date?
If you need your order by a certain date, please include this information in the Special Instructions box during the ordering process and we will do everything we can to accommodate your request.

Q: Can I pick up my order from your warehouse?
World Centric offers a pick-up option for orders exceeding $75.00. Please contact customer service at 707-241-9190, option 0 for information about picking up.

Q: Do you ship outside the U.S.?
Due to high freight and custom costs, World Centric is limited in its ability to ship internationally at this time. Please contact our Customer Service Department for more information at 707-241-9190 (option 0) or through our Contact Us page.

Q: Are there extra fees for shipping to Canada?
All customs fees are billed to the consignee.

Q: When does my order qualify for free shipping?
As part of World Centric’s continuing efforts to provide superior products and services, we are happy to provide free ground shipping for online orders over $75 in the continental United States.
 

Returns & Cancellations

Q: Do you accept returns?
Please call the administrative office at 707-241-9190 before returning goods so that you can receive an authorization number for your return. Returns sent to our warehouse without an authorization number will not be eligible for refund.

For more information, please visit our Returns/Cancellations page.

Q: What if I want to cancel my order?
Please submit all cancellation requests via our "Contact Us" page or by phone at 707-241-9190, as soon as possible and include all the information you received in your order confirmation. Every effort will be made to accommodate the cancellation of your order, providing your order has not been shipped. Orders ship about 2 business days after they are placed.

For more information, please visit our Returns/Cancellations page.

 

General Questions

Q: What are your compostable products made from?
We have 3 main product material categories: plant fiber, paper, and PLA (Polylactic Acid).  Each of these categories offers a unique way to replace traditional items.

Plant Fiber
Hundreds of different fibrous plants can be manufactured into alternatives to tree-based paper products. Our main source of plant fiber is wheat straw, though it is occasionally supplemented by sugarcane and bamboo. In many agricultural processes, wheat straw is treated merely as the agricultural waste that remains after grain or juice is extracted. It is commonly thrown away or burned.  For World Centric, straw is a valuable resource that can be fashioned into disposable products like plates, take-out containers, bowls, etc.  Using plant fiber protects forests, uses less energy and fewer toxic chemicals than paper alternatives, provides a new revenue for farmers, and is a renewable and sustainable resource.

Paper
World Centric provides a line of hot cups and bowls made from paper.  While we believe that the best way to protect the world’s forest is to reduce consumption of tree-based products, many of our customers want products which cannot yet be replicated by plant-fiber.  Our paper products are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council guaranteeing the responsible management of the forests.

Polyactic Acid (PLA)
PLA is a bio-based plastic derived from renewable resources such as corn starch, tapioca roots, or sugarcane.  World Centric products are made from a type of PLA called Ingeo™.  To make Ingeo™, sugar from plants is turned into lactic acid through fermentation which is converted into polymer.  At this stage it is shaped into pellets which can be transformed into a wide variety of products.  Manufacturing Ingeo™ produces 75% less greenhouse gases and uses 50% less non-renewable energy than traditional polymers like PET & polystyrene.

Q: What is the difference between compostable plastic and biodegradable plastic?
“Biodegradable” means that an object is capable of disintegrating by biological means.  Technically, these items could be composed of almost any material since with enough time microorganisms can decompose almost anything.  For example, aluminum cans will biodegrade in the ocean in about 200 years and hard plastic bottle caps will biodegrade in about 400 years.

“Compostable” means that a product breaks down to carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass which leaves no toxic residue.  According to D6400 composting standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), compostable products must break down at a rate similar to paper or disintegrate into small pieces within 90 days so that the original product is not visually distinguishable in the compost.

Q: How are your products better than traditional alternatives?
Every World Centric product is certified by the Biodegradable Products institute to meet ASTM D6400 standards for compostability and certified for plant-based content by the USDA BioBased program Our products not only break down into soil, but - through their production and disposal - use less energy and water, and release less harmful pollutant than their conventional counterparts.  For example, we can make 2 compostable forks with the same amount of energy it takes to make 1 polystyrene fork and 3 compostable plates with the same amount as 1 polystyrene plate.  That’s a 66% saving in energy.  Using less energy means producing less greenhouse gas and emitting less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Conventional plastics are manufactured from 20 different petroleum-based resins with 20 different levels of recyclability and toxicity. As a fossil fuel, petroleum in a non-renewable resource and its extraction process degrades the environment.  Due to complexity in recycling, over 20 million tons of plastic are sent to landfill each year.

Q: What is Ingeo™?
Ingeo™  is the trademarked brand name for PLA made by NatureWorks.
Read more about PLA.

Q: What is the shelf life of your products?

Product

Shelf Life

PLA cold cups, deli containers, etc.

2 years

PLA utensils

2 years

PLA straws, trash bags, kitchen bags, and lids for hot cups and bowls

9 months

Wheat straw plates, take-out containers, bowls, cups, and trays

3 years

Paper hot cups and bowls

2 years

Products should be stored in a cool dry area to achieve maximum life expectancy.


Q: How long will these products take to break down?

Product

Home Composting

Commercial Composting

PLA cold cups, deli containers, straws, etc.

Not recommended

2-3 months

PLA utensils

Not recommended

2-4 months

PLA trash bags and kitchen bags

Up to 1 year

2-3 months

Wheat straw plates, take-out containers, bowls, cups, and trays

Up to 6 months

2-3 months

Paper hot cups and bowls

Up to 1 year

2-3 months

Lids for hot cups and bowls

Not recommended

2-4 month

Read more about composting!

Q: Which products have the least environmental impact?

Our plant fiber products are made from wheat straw, a leftover agricultural byproduct after the wheat grains have been removed. Here are some of the other benefits of using wheat straw:

Q: Isn’t using corn for disposable products wasting a valuable food source?
Our Ingeo™ products are made from No. 2 yellow dent field corn, the most abundant and cheapest source of fermentable sugar in the US. We use very little of available US corn crop.

Q: Have your items been tested for compostablility by reliable sources?
All our products are certified compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute to meet ASTM D6400 and ASTM D6868 standards for compostability.

Test products are not always certified immediately.

Q: Where are your products manufactured?
We currently manufacture all of our products in Asia.  We are exploring manufacturing options in the United States.

Q: Why are you manufacturing in Asia?  Doesn’t that increase the carbon footprint?
We currently manufacture our products in Asia so that we can provide an affordable alternative to plastic. Since transporting products from the Asia to the U.S. is not ideal, we are currently exploring options to manufacture in the U.S. We do our best to minimize the impact on the environment and people.  We offset all our carbon from raw materials to delivery (including manufacturing, transportation) and do regular fair labor audits in China to ensure that workers are paid well and have decent working conditions.   

Q: Where do your materials come from?
Our raw materials come from a variety of plant-based sources including wheat straw and sugar cane fiber, corn, talc, and paper from sustainably harvested trees.

Q: How are your materials grown?
Whenever available, we seek supplies that are grown without GMOs and with organic farming practices. Unfortunately, there does not exist a reliable supply for some of our materials that are certified non-GMO.

 

Ingeo™ and TPLA Products

Q: What is PLA?
PLA (polylactic acid) is a bio-based plastic derived from renewable resources such as corn starch, tapioca roots, or sugarcane.  World Centric products are made from a type of PLA called Ingeo™.  To make Ingeo™, sugar from plants is turned into lactic acid through fermentation which is converted into polymer.  At this stage it is shaped into pellets which can be transformed into a wide variety of products.  Manufacturing Ingeo™ produces 75% less greenhouse gases and uses 50% less non-renewable energy than traditional polymers like PET & polystyrene.  
Q: What is NatureWorks Ingeo™?
NatureWorks, headquartered in Minnetonka, Minnesota, is the manufacturer of Ingeo™.  Ingeo™ is a type of PLA, which is a bio-based plastic derived from renewable resources such as corn starch, tapioca roots, or sugarcane. To make Ingeo™, sugar from plants is turned into lactic acid through fermentation which is converted into polymer.

Q: How are compostable bioplastic products different from conventional plastics?
Conventional plastics are manufactured from 20 different petroleum-based resins with 20 different levels of recyclability and toxicity. As a fossil fuel, petroleum is a non-renewable resource and its extraction process degrades the environment. When discarded, plastic products can be recycled, but only if they are first sorted by resin type. This sorting is an imperfect and labor-intensive process. In 2012, plastics made up 13% of the waste sent to U.S. Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) facilities. Of that amount, only 2.7% was recovered for recycling. PLA is a bio-based plastic derived from renewable resources such as corn starch, tapioca roots, or sugarcane. World Centric products are made from a type of PLA called Ingeo™. To make Ingeo™, sugar from plants is turned into lactic acid through fermentation which is converted into polymer. At this stage it is shaped into pellets which can be transformed into a wide variety of products. Manufacturing Ingeo™ produces 75% less greenhouse gases and uses 50% less non-renewable energy than conventional plastics.

Q: How can I tell the difference between compostable and traditional products?
Currently symbols #1-#6 are reserved for plastic products – bio-plastics and all other products, which can be considered as plastic, fall under the #7 symbol as "Other."
Look for the word “compostable” or the BPI Certified logo.
World Centric uses #0 to indicate that a product is 100% compostable.
 
Q: Will compostable products break down faster in the landfill than traditional items?
Our products are designed to be composted using a process which does not occur in landfills. Microorganisms, carbon, water, oxygen and nitrogen are all necessary elements of the composting process.  If sent to an open landfill or dump where oxygen is available, compostables will degrade at a rate similar to other biodegradable materials in the same setting. If compostable products are placed in the more common air-tight landfill and deprived of oxygen and microorganisms, they will not be able to biodegrade. This is true of all biodegradable materials in landfills, including paper, yard waste, and food waste.

Q: Can I put hot food/liquid in the Ingeo™ products?

Q: Are ZeroWare™ Reusables dishwasher and microwave safe?  
ZeroWare™ is dishwasher safe.  We do not recommend reheating food on ZeroWare™ plates and bowls.

Q: How many times can ZeroWare™ Resuables be washed?
ZeroWare™ has been tested up to 125 cycles in the dishwasher at 140°F


 

Plant Fiber Products

Q: What are your plant fiber products made from?
Our main source of plant fiber is wheat straw, though it is occasionally supplemented by sugar cane and bamboo. In many agricultural processes, wheat straw is treated merely as the agricultural waste that remains after grain or juice is extracted. It is commonly thrown away or burned.  For World Centric, straw is a valuable resource that can be fashioned into disposable products like plates, take-out containers, bowls, etc.  Using plant fiber protects forests, uses less energy and fewer toxic chemicals than paper alternatives, provides a new revenue for farmers, and is a renewable and sustainable resource.

Q: How well do the plant fiber products handle heat?
Our plant fiber products will handle hot food and beverages up to 200° F.  They are both microwave and freezer safe.

Q: Are the wheat straw bathroom and facial tissues septic safe?
We have not done sufficient testing to recommend the wheat straw bathroom or facial tissue for septic.

Q: What are the wheat straw products made from?
There is a minimum of 90% wheat straw supplemented with discarded wood fiber.  Adding the small amount of wood fiber acts as an adhesive for the shorter plant fibers.

 

Paper Products

Q: What kind of paper do you use?


 

Composting

Q: What is composting?
Composting is breaking down organic material by bacteria, yeasts and fungi into healthy, fertile soil.

To learn more about composting, please click here.

Q: How do I find my nearest composting facility?
The best way to find a commercial composting facility in your area is to contact your local waste management service.  To ensure that your products are properly composted, ask if the site accepts compostable foodservice wares.

Q: How do I properly dispose of my compostable products?
Compostable products should be sent to a commercial composting facility. Unfortunately, not every city has a nearby composting site. You can contact your city’s waste management and/or recycling programs for further information on your composting options. Your city or county website will often have information on composting and free composting classes available.

Information on how to create your own compost can be found here.

Biodegradable/compostable products are not recyclable and contaminate the recycling line. In the trash, they will most likely end up in a landfill.

Q: Can I recycle compostable products?
Compostable products should not be sent to recycling facilities as they contaminate the recycling lines, which are sorted by material. Compostables have the ability to be recycled but facilities are limited.
 
To learn more about composting, please visit our composting page

Q: Will compostables break down faster in the landfill?
No. Our products are designed to be composted using a process which does not occur in landfills. Microorganisms, carbon, water, oxygen and nitrogen are all necessary elements of the composting process.  If sent to an open landfill or dump where oxygen is available, compostables will degrade at a rate similar to other biodegradable materials in the same setting. If compostable products are placed in the more common air-tight landfill and deprived of oxygen and microorganisms, they will not be able to biodegrade. This is true of all biodegradable materials in landfills, including paper, yard waste, and food waste.

 

Health-Related Questions

Q: Are your products edible?
While our products are generally non-toxic, they are not recommended for human consumption. If accidentally ingested, contact your physician.

Q: Are your products gluten-free?
Yes. Our products have been tested and are gluten-free. Gluten is protein typically found in seeds and we only use the straw part of wheat plants for our products.
 
Q: What if I am allergic to corn?
When food is heated past the heat-labile point, its chemical configuration changes. Due to the extreme heat and numerous processing steps to convert corn into our feedstock and then to Ingeo, it would not contain immunologically reactive profilin and therefore no concerns regarding allergic reactions from Ingeo.

Q: Is the corn used to make Ingeo™ products GMO-free?
The corn used to make Ingeo™ is a mixed stream of non-GMO and GMO corn grown within 30 miles of NatureWorks’ facility in Blair, Nebraska. During the manufacture of Ingeo™ biopolymer, the multiple-stage processing and high heat used to create the polymer removes all traces of genetic material.
 

Q: Does this mean that World Centric supports GMO?
There is a lack of access to GMO-free crops that could be affordable to consumers.  Currently 86% of the corn grown in the US is GMO, with 45% of it being used for livestock, poultry, and fish production and 27.5% for ethanol production.  While we do not want to purchase anything with a GMO-base, our primary goal is to lessen our reliance on petroleum-based products and prevent the environmental degradation caused by the manufacture of these products.  We believe that as the market for compostable bioplastics grows, we will soon have the purchasing power to eliminate GMOs in our products!


 

Still have questions?

Our Customer Service Representatives can be reached at 707-241-9190 or through our "Contact Us" page.