For some types of packaging, the best environmental option may be to design the packaging so that the waste materials can be composted. This can only be achieved if the packaging itself is made from completely biodegradable materials.
Your business must also weigh up the use of compostable materials against other environmental goals. Using biopolymers is no better than using other materials in your packaging. You should decide whether using biopolymers has a commercial and environmental benefit.
Compostable packaging checklist
Use the checklist below to help you decide whether to choose compostable packaging.
- Where will your packaging become waste? If it might end up in the home, will the consumer know what to do with it and what are the chances of it being mixed up with material for recycling?
- Is there a high probability that your compostable packaging will be landfilled? Landfilling biopolymers will actually increase the generation and release of methane gas, which is the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.
- Is the product a good candidate for compostable packaging - ie short shelf life, insensitive to moisture or oxygen, does not require heating in-pack and is non-carbonated?
- Will your compostable packaging be lighter or heavier than the packaging it replaces?
- Will the use of biopolymers adversely affect the contents of your packaging?