The Lab: What Happens When You Compost a Fake Plant

Nov 07, 2020
 This scenario is so common it’s easy to forget how weird it is: You are visiting a friend’s house when a potted plant catches your eye. You ask, “Is it real?”

We live in an age of “miracle” synthetics, where plastic leaves can fool the eye (and sometimes surprisingly, the touch). Here’s who is not fooled: worms and microbes. 

Put a real plant and a fake plant in a compost pile and after a few months one will be rich, dark soil, and the other will still be a (somewhat dirtier) fake plant.

Do you compost? What odd items have you found in your bin?

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