What is Compostable Packaging and Why Does it Matter?
As we’ve all started moving towards more “green” methods of living our lives in an effort to help the planet thrive, some interesting concepts have come up. We have electric cars, low-energy lighting, and even weirder things such as smart toilets.
However, one thing you might not have heard about yet is compostable packaging.
What is it? Why is it “green”?
We’re going to go over both those questions now, and you might decide to switch over to as many forms of compostable packaging as possible by the time we’re done.
What is Compostable Packaging?
Compostable packaging is a relatively new type of packaging made entirely of materials that can be naturally broken down into nourishing food for plant life and certain insects. The main material used is paper, and the inks that are used to dye it and print on it are organic as well.
You can find compostable mailing bags, grocery bags, food packaging, and tons of other options. Some toy manufacturers have even started making “plastic-free packaging” that is compostable.
Why is it “Green”?
Right now, plastic is still far more common than it should be in the packaging world. Unfortunately, 300-million tons of plastic waste are made each year. Most of that goes straight to the landfill, and then even more of it goes to recycling centers just to be sent to the landfill, anyway.
So, the key isn’t to recycle plastic. It’s to minimize its production entirely.
Compostable packaging allows that to happen. There is no plastic in compostable packaging. Instead, it’s made of paper, organic inks, and sometimes a waxy coating if it’s likely to get wet. The cool part about this is that not only does it make plastic irrelevant in the packaging world, but it also doesn’t require trees.
This type of packaging is made from an invasive seaweed species that needs to be removed from coastal ecosystems so those ecosystems can thrive. It’s like killing three birds with one stone.
Better yet, you don’t have to worry about recycling it. If it goes to the landfill, it will break down within a month on its own. However, if you have a composting bin at home, you can simply shred it up and toss it in. This will turn into compost you can use for your garden.
All things considered, this is far more ideal than using plastic packaging that doesn’t break down, litters places it shouldn’t, and is generally toxic to make.
Do Compostable Packages Work?
Of course, none of that really matters if the product doesn’t work. Luckily, it does. Paper is just as good as plastic for nearly every single packaging purpose, and there’s a key point you might have missed in the previous section; it can even be made waterproof with a wax treatment.
That gets rid of the one major weakness paper has compared to plastic; meaning that there really isn’t a drawback to using it. It’s durable, gets the job done, and the one issue that might pop up is easily correctable with a little bit of foresight.