Finding eco-friendly packaging isn't easy and there is a lot of misleading information out there.
So let's dive into the biggest misconception with recyclable packaging. It's estimated that Australians generate 67 million tonnes of waste a year with 37% of that being recycled. But what those figures don't tell you is that even if you have put the right recyclable item in the recyclable bin, it's still likely to end up in landfill. This is because there is variable to those recyclable products actually being recyclable such as broken glass, food, plastic bags, rubbish even liquid residue.
Consumers are becoming more aware of the devastating effects of plastic on the environment and they are demanding companies to reduce their plastic and seek environmentally friendly and sustainable packaging. However, misguided information isn't helping this cause at all and with covid lockdowns there has been a major increase in rubbish wastage.
So what is the solution? If recycling isn't contributing enough to a sustainable change, then what options do businesses have for their product to be packaged for safe transportation and use for their consumers? This is where compostable packaging rises above and beyond and is a solution for today's impact.
Now the tricky part - there are two types of compostable packaging, one is industrial compostable packaging and the other is home compostable packaging and the difference is important because there aren't enough commercial composting facilities located within Australia.
What is industrial compostable packaging? Industrial Compostable packaging refers to the ability of the packaging to biologically decompose and disintegrate in a commercial composting facility only. The composting process must be at set levels and within a defined period of time. Industrial composting facilities treat the packaging with high temperatures (over 55 degrees, much higher than can be achieved in the backyard) to encourage the breakdown of the material where it will become organic rich soil that can be on sold. To be classified as compostable packaging, the packaging must also meet specific quality criteria relating to its ecotoxicity and other characteristics, but with only 150 commercial facilities within Australia, compostable packaging isn't reaching its fullest potential, as councils don't have easily accessible ways for our kerbside collection to reach these facilities.
What is Home compostable packaging? Home Compostable packaging achieves a complete breakdown of the entire packet, which includes the material of the packet, the adhesive that seals the packet, and even the ink used for printing. There is no component of a fully accredited home compostable package that won't disappear within a home compost bin or a green bin, allowing the package to become organic rich soil within a measured period of time (less than 26 weeks!) in your very own residence.
So don't wait for change to happen, call to action, your voice as a consumer is driving the change in how companies package. Lead the way of change, support home compostable packaging!
In Australia, the Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) is the governing body that sets and provides the standards for packaging based on its level of biodegradability. When packaging is classified as compostable and has undergone stringent testing set by the ABA, the packaging is accredited and the ABA has set the standard for home compostable packaging. The Australian Standard AS 5810-2010 covers companies and individuals wishing to verify their claims of conformance to Biodegradable Plastics suitable for home composting. Products, bags and packaging that conform to the Home Composting Australian Standard AS 5810-2010, verified by the Australasian Bioplastics Association can be endorsed with the ABA Home Composting logo. This Home Composting logo ensures that these products and materials are easily recognised, and food waste or organic waste contained in these certified products can be easily separated out and diverted from landfill.
Here is the logo to always be on the lookout for. Compost Me's goal is to guide our food companies through the packaging process, there is always an alternative and with consumers readying their compost bins, it's now up to companies to make the choice. Choose Home Compostable Packaging with Compost Me.