Compostable packaging has begun to receive some attention for what some call ‘flaws’ but it is not so much flaws, but rather a lack of awareness or knowledge about what to actually do with compostable or biodegradable packaging. We’ve seen lots of companies move towards these compostable packages (ourselves included), whether that be in the form of cups, forks, food take out, or mailers. It’s really great to see this and is an amazing example of a promising future and how our voices as consumers are being heard. However, the waste system we currently have in place is not properly built to handle compostable and biodegradable packaging.
What does compostable mean?
Composting is the natural process of allowing organic matter to decay and ‘return’ back to the ground. You can grab your pile of food and create a small compost pile, which could turn into fertilizer for example. This can be done in your backyard—or even, some creative people have come up with ways to compost in small apartments. However, things like compostable plastic, eco-takeout boxes, or compostable mailers are not going to ‘break down’ in your backyards compost. For items like this to truly decay, they need a lot of heat. A perfect combination of heat, nutrients, oxygen, and time allow for these items to truly biodegrade.
Is there a difference between compostable and biodegradable?
The spark notes version to this question is yes—the main difference is that compost breaks down into the earch but adds nutrients to the soil while doing so. Everything composable is biodegradable, but not everything biodegradable is compostable.
What can I do with my compostable packaging?
Normou has compostable mailers. We pride ourselves on using no plastic in our shipments and are continuously working to improve the packaging process for our customers while sticking to our values as eco friendly consumers. So, it’s great to know what you can do with your compostable mailers when you place an order on our platform. First, make sure to separate these items from your regular trash. Start a pile for “large-scale compostable waste”, meaning anything you can’t compost in your backyard. There are compostable facilities that will help compost this for you because if your mailer ends up in the regular trash, it’s not any better than another piece of plastic. These materials will definitely break down eventually, it just takes substantially longer.
Composting facilities are still a minority – not a lot exist. Try googling ‘composting facilities near me’ and start discovering the easiest way for you to start sending your compost! Some times services will do pick ups, or you can find a convenient location where dropping off your compost can become part of your weekend routine.