What does compostable mean? When packaging is deemed compostable it means that the product is certified and approved to be suitable for commercial composting (EN13432). Commercial composting is a very specialised process which creates the perfect environment for these products to breakdown within 90 days. This carefully controlled biodegradation cycle turns the product into a nutrient dense soil called, humus.
Which packaging items are suitable for composting?
- PLA, Poly lactic acid, commonly made from sugarcane is a plant based polymer which is formed into a product that looks and acts just like plastic. PLA, helps minimise the carbon impact and alleviates the pressure of extracting finite resources like oil, which is used to produce traditional plastics. Suitable for commercial composting only.
- Bagasse take away boxes and tableware are made from the dry fibrous substance left behind after the juices have been extracted from sugarcane. Once the material is pulped and processed, the resulting material resembles a textured paper board look and feel. Suitable for home and commercial composting.
- Birchwood cutlery is currently one of the most popular alternatives to single-use plastic cutlery. It contains no toxins and is sourced sustainably from manufacturers who are PEFC and FSC certified. Suitable for home and commercial composting.
- Palm leaf is a wonderfully unique product commonly used as an alternative to plastic tableware. Made from the fallen leaves of an Areca tree, these light and sturdy palm leaf products are made from a very simple chemical and toxin free process. Suitable for home and commercial composting.
What happens when PLA disposable packaging is not commercially composted?
The biggest challenge with PLA packaging is the fact that it looks identical to traditional plastic and therefore often finds itself in the incorrect recycling bin which means that this product could end up in landfill or incineration. Another important factor to consider is the fact that PLA will only breakdown safely when exposed to the correct combination of elements. Should any of these PLA disposables end up in our rivers or oceans it will pose just as much a threat to marine life as plastics would. Therefore, education and awareness are two essential factors to ensure the success of delivering the environmental results your business aims to achieve when switching over to PLA disposable packaging.
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