Compostable Packaging & Composting Facts

If you are searching for sustainable packaging options, one possibility you might consider would be compostable packaging. This can be a very eco-friendly choice, however, it is one of the newer sustainable options available to manufacturers, so many people don’t know a lot about compostable packaging or compostable materials in general.

Before we delve into the world of compostable packaging, many people are confused about the differences between biodegradable packaging and compostable packaging. In some cases, biodegradable packaging might be compostable, but this is not always true. Some biodegradable packaging must be sent to a special facility where it undergoes a biodegradation process.

Compostable packaging is packaging that will break down or biodegrade, but compostable indicates that your packaging probably can be placed in curbside green waste containers along with other compostable materials. Neither biodegradable packaging nor compostable packaging can be placed in standard recycling bins nor should they go into a landfill. Neither of these types of packaging can break down, or biodegrade, in a landfill, as the conditions in landfill are not conducive to the process of biodegradation.

There are many exciting advancements being made in the world of compostable packaging. For instance, one company is developing compostable plastic film that will biodegrade when it is placed with other organic waste in a compost bin or at a composting facility. This plastic film can be used to make grocery bags, plastic wrap and other similar items. Interestingly enough, this plastic film is derived from petrochemical polymers and not natural materials, as you might think.

Some starch-based bioplastics are compostable and can be an excellent option for your custom plastic packaging. There are many benefits to using these types of plastics, particularly if you select compostable varieties of bioplastic. For instance, these plastics are made using renewable sources, they do biodegrade if placed in a composting facility, and they still produce a quality product.

A few of the most common types of bioplastics include items made from bamboo, hemp or perhaps polylactic acid (PLA), which is derived from sources such as sugar cane or corn starch. Again, not all of these materials, even those that are plant-based, are compostable.

In addition to compostable packaging, many other items are compostable and often can be placed in a curbside green waste bin. Most people with green waste bins understand that grass clippings, leaves and some plants can be placed in these bins, but there are many other items that should be placed in these bins and kept out of landfills.

For instance, any vegetable or fruit scraps you might have can go into the green waste bin. Cardboard, such as pizza boxes, often can be placed in these bins. Cooked rice or pasta and stale bread all can be placed in a green waste trash can. Coffee grounds and loose leaf tea also can be placed in these bins. Beyond that, every community seems to have different rules and restrictions regarding green waste, and consumers are encouraged to go online and check out their local regulations.

If you are interested in learning more about compostable packaging and what your options might be, give us a call at Indepak. In addition to offering starch-based bioplastics, we also might have several other sustainable options that might be of interest to you.

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