Will a Switch to Compostable Packaging Be Expensive?
In our modern lifestyles, proper care for the environment around us can often feel at best unattainable and at worst impossible. With soaring CO2 levels and drastic temperature changes, we are all being faced with the realities of the mismanagement and neglect of the planet. As business leaders and innovators, can we really make a difference?
The answer, in short, is a clear ‘yes’. Many businesses are considering ways in which they can – step by step – make an informed choice and a positive impact: exploring greener options by swapping to more eco-friendly solutions such as environmentally friendly packaging, opting for organic, biodegradable, and compostable, using renewables and devising cleaner, greener strategies for conscious waste disposal. Let’s take a closer look at compostable packaging – both what it means to switch to compostables and how this eco-friendly route can positively impact your profits.
Let’s start with the word Compostable. What is it and what does it mean?
In essence, a compostable product is one which can be utilised as nutrient-rich compost once it begins to break down, decay or decompose because it is formed of organic materials. When compostable packaging is used in place of traditional packaging, no harmful chemicals or particles are released into the environment. When it breaks down, compostable packaging leaves behind nutrient-rich humus – a brown or black organic substance that plays an important role in providing nutrients to plants, helps with soil structure and benefits the ecosystem in general.
Conventional, non-compostable packaging does not have this environmental advantage. Crucially, there is a key distinction between ‘compostable’ and ‘biodegradable’. While the term ‘biodegradable’ refers to any substance that degrades and decomposes in the environment, the phrase ‘compostable’ refers to organic matter that degrades and produces a number of valuable environmentally friendly outcomes such as compost/fertiliser and soil improver. Specifically, ‘compostable’ products are those which can biodegrade within a period of three months or less under the right conditions, whereas the term ‘biodegradable’ simply describes organic products capable of decomposition.
What is Compostable Food Packaging?
In comparison to conventional, synthetic, plastic-based products, compostable food packaging uses environmentally friendly methods in its manufacturing and disposal. Compostable products are commonly created from renewable resources using plant-based, natural ingredients; after use, these products may be returned to the earth swiftly and safely as compost or soil enhancers when properly disposed of. Importantly, these products differ both in environmental impact and material quality, depending on their source. Compostable packaging is not intended to be recycled or mixed with petroleum-based non-compostable plastics and instead offer a greener option that negates the need for energy-consuming processing such as the waste and recycling system. Here at Eco to Go, we consistently strive to offer products that tread as lightly on the planet as possible whilst still delivering excellence to our customers; not only is our range of packaging fully compostable – meaning that each item truly leaves no trace and decomposes within a matter of weeks – but our products also offer back to the planet by replenishing the soil cycle and adding organic nutrients back to the earth.
What are the benefits of using compostable packaging?
When disposed of properly, there are several key benefits in choosing to use compostable packaging. This eco-friendly alternative offers a reduction in greenhouse gas emission as composting itself is not a significant source of methane – it is a specific oxygen-rich process that occurs in compost piles. As food waste produces rich compost that restores soil fertility, compostable packaging can be disposed of with general food waste or added to the home compost pile. By properly composting such products, we reduce greenhouse gas emissions because the carbon that makes up the methane gas is retained rather than emitted. The process of composting is simple and can be done in your own garden: the end result being nutrient-rich compost which can then be added back into the soil.
Light on the Planet: Light on the Wallet.
As a result of choosing, using and properly disposing of compostable packaging, landfills have less waste and methane emissions are drastically reduced. With the added opportunity to compost food waste too, the move to eco-friendly packaging has the potential to eliminate unnecessary waste, significantly reduce greenhouse gases and save a lot of landfill space. Composting also increases the diversity of organisms. Microorganisms that aid in composting are attracted to the soil by the presence of compost, which also serves to increase soil biodiversity; a more biodiverse ecosystem, then, is one that is in better health.
More than eco-chat, composting really is the cheapest option! Composting offers a less expensive alternative to waste and recycling collection and processing. Recycling collection and disposal costs are seven times more expensive than composting, with recycling costs over £120 per tonne vs approximately £17 per tonne for local authority composting. Of course, home composting is completely free! Add to that the fact that much of our recyclable materials are burnt in incinerators due to insufficient facilities, unrecyclable materials and existing waste-management contracts, compostable solutions really do chalk up to be the greenest, cleanest and most efficient way to provide packaging without costing the earth.
Head over to our shop to view our fully compostable range of products and learn more about the benefits of choosing eco-friendly packaging for your business.