What is compostable packaging?
It is biodegradable packaging that breaks down under specific composting conditions back into
water, carbon dioxide (CO2) and biomass.
Sustainable – Our compostable packaging is made from renewable resources such as plant fibres,
reducing the reliance on petrochemicals.
Cradle to Cradle – Packaging that can be returned back to nature after use.
Waste reduction – Designed to replace multi-layer barrier laminates that can’t be recycled.
What is it made from?
Our packaging is made from; wood pulp from PEFC accredited forests that are sustainably
managed (for every tree felled at least one more and up to three are regrown) and a bio-polymer
which is derived from cassava and maize sourced from GMO free crops.
Does it take from food sources?
Most of the raw materials come from bi-products of the food industry and make use of materials
that would otherwise be wasted, incinerated or composted.
What should you use it for?
Our packaging is perfectly suited to what we are using it for; dried pantry goods such as grains,
beans, pulses and dried fruit that require protection from oxygen and moisture. The material is
fully tested and approved for direct food contact.
What about pests?
Though the raw materials used for our packaging derive from plant sources, the finished product is
in no way desirable for insects and other pests to eat.
What about organic recycling, collection of biodegradable matter from homes and the Governments view?
97% of local councils have green waste collections (source.wrap). This is an existing waste collection scheme that could be utilised for organically recycling compostable packaging. Currently waste most waste collectors are unable to collect compostable material with other organic waste because it is difficult to distinguish between plastic packaging and compostable packaging. In order for waste streams for compostable materials to be implemented, local councils will need to be shown that there is demand for such a service which is where consumers can really help - by calling their local council and speaking with them about compostable waste collections they will start to realise the true size of the demand.
What are the alternatives to compostable?
The alternatives are petrochemical plastics that are either non- recyclable or not widely recycled. It is estimated that some 1.2 million tonnes of plastic film from packaging arises in the UK waste stream every year. Of these, two thirds are post- consumer (i.e. from household) sources. The collection, separation and reprocessing of household film is not widely implemented in the UK; as a consequence, end markets for the recycled material is limited. In 2011/12 13% of local authorities provided kerbside collection of films. Flexible plastic packaging such as laminated pouches are not currently recycled in the UK. (source.Wrap)
What about the cost?
Compostable materials are more expensive than regular petrochemical based plastics and that is in part due to the low price of materials for conventional plastic materials and in part due to economies of scale. Demand for compostable packaging is rising and with it economies of scale improves the overall cost. For now, Just Natural have chosen to absorb much of the extra cost of our home compostable packaging so our customers do not have to make the choice between a cheaper product, or a sustainable option.
What do recycling companies say about compostables?
Two main recycling companies in the UK, Virador and Veolia have signed up to the UK plastic pact
and have facilities for organic recycling such as anaerobic digestion and composting.
How does it fit in a circular economy?
Compostable products when organically recycled are a true cradle to cradle solution.
How do I know it will actually compost?
Our packaging has been tested and accredited to prove that it breaks down at set composting conditions. These tests include ones for eco-toxicity to ensure that they have no negative impact on the composting environment. Give it a go yourself and see.
Will it contaminate recycling routes?
Currently less than 13% of local authorities provide kerbside collection of flexible packaging and multilayer laminates are not currently recycled in the UK. (Source. Wrap) If our packaging ends up in the plastic recycling stream, it will be removed at a sorting plant and most likely incinerated (producing CO2 and Ash). Our compostable packaging is organically recyclable and is a viable alternative to Petrochemical based plastic packaging that isn’t being recycled.
How long does it take to compost?
Home composting – less than 26 Weeks at ambient temperature (< 30c) Industrial composting – Less than 12 Weeks at 60c
What happens if it gets into landfill?
Whilst recycling, anaerobic digestion and composting create value from waste, landfill has no value and is not a sustainable option in the future. Compostable packaging reacts in landfill the same as other organic waste such as paper and wood. If in the top layers of the landfill waste where
oxygen is available, the material will start to break down.