Plastic Alternative Packaging With 'Compostable' Label Won’t Actually Compost At Home.
We know why you’re here. You want to make a difference. You want to help the planet, and you’ve heard that compostable packaging is the way to do it. But before you go and buy all of the compostable packaging in sight, there’s something you should know:
Have you ever drunk your morning coffee with an eco cup (a paper lined or clear cup with a green line around it?) If yes, then you may have fallen victim to confusing compostable labeling and packaging. Composting is a hot topic. And now that many places in Australia have started to ban single-use plastic packaging it's only going to become hotter.
While the term "compostable packaging" is a buzzword that is thrown around often, the first step is really understanding compostable packaging, so let's dive right into it!
Compostable packaging is made from plants, but not all compostable plastic is made the same way as some brands would like you to think. #greenwashing
It's important to note that these products will only compost under specific conditions, which are often not present in a typical household compost bin. For instance, compostable products need to reach a specific temperature, humidity level, and oxygen content to properly break down. If the conditions aren't met, the compostable products won't break down as intended and will remain in the environment just like traditional plastic products.
Moreover, most households don't have access to industrial composting facilities, which are designed to process compostable products in the right conditions. Instead, many consumers compost their products at home or simply toss them in the trash. In both cases, the compostable products may not decompose as intended, leading to more waste in landfills or oceans.
Unless you collect them and take them to a composting facility, where only 53 out of 536 accept commercially compostable packaging in Australia they will end up in landfill and behave in the same way as traditional plastic.
To put that into proportion for you, according to research, only 0.13% of commercially compostable packaging gets disposed of properly, whereas the rest end up in landfills. Unbelievable right?!
The issue is compounded by the fact that many consumers assume that compostable products will automatically break down in a home compost bin. They often buy these products with the intention of being more environmentally friendly, only to find out that they are not composting as they expected. This can lead to confusion and frustration, and may even deter some consumers from making environmentally conscious choices in the future.
So, what can we do about this? First, it's important for consumers to educate themselves about what compostable packaging actually is and how it should be disposed of. They should understand that commercially compostable products need specific conditions to decompose and that they may not break down in a home compost bin.
When you see this logo it means it's only commercially compostable.
Second, companies should be more transparent about their compostable products and provide clear disposal instructions. This can include labeling that explains the specific conditions needed for composting or directing consumers to industrial composting facilities in their area.
Finally, we need to promote a more comprehensive approach to waste management. This means reducing our overall consumption of single-use products, recycling as much as possible, and supporting the development of new technologies that can break down plastics and other waste in a sustainable way.
That’s why at Little Green Panda we spent the last 4 years developing a revolutionary technology made entirely from food waste that doesn’t require a specific industrial facility in order to break down. All you need is a bin, some worms and garbage—and in 90 days, the rest will naturally disappear. Truely.
Discover our range of home compostable products designed to truely disappear here.