At Eat for You, we thrive on producing the best possible products with the best available food sources, so why would we compromise on our packaging? We spend heaps of time working to produce healthy and sustainable products, from the raw food we source, to our supply chains and packaging. We are constantly pushing the boundary on what is best both for the health of our customer and the planet.
The packaging landscape
There are a staggering range of terms used to promote the “sustainable” nature of packaging in everyday products. Terms like recyclable, sustainable, biodegradable, bioplastics and compostable make it really hard to work out the best way to handle packaging waste. See more in our recent blog on greenwashing.
The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) works with industry and organisations like the Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) to design a range of strategies, supported by targets of 100% recyclable, compostable and reusable packaging by 2025.
Alarmingly, only 11.5% of 3.5 million tonnes of plastic consumed was recycled in Australia in 2018-2019! It is clear the APCO initiative is important in moving packaging towards closed loop systems with implementation of improved packaging, labelling, education, and collection and recycling systems. Particularly if we are to achieve the targets listed above!
What can I do as a consumer?
This is a tricky one as avoiding packaging is hard.
- Re-using packaging can be great but is also limited by the types of products you purchase.
- Recycling (while a vast improvement on landfill) has many loopholes making it hard to be sure the packaging is truly recycled (plus the information is so confusing on what can be recycled where!).
- Biodegradable packaging simply means it will break down under certain conditions but, the timeline for this to happen could be centuries!
Eat for You - proud partners of Compost Me
This is why we have partnered with Compost Me as our packaging supplier. Their products are accredited as fully home compostable, meaning there is no special treatment required for their products to break down. Everything from the lining, the inks and adhesives have been certified as fully home compostable by OK Compost and through the Australian Bioplastics Association. This certification means that:
- The packaging will break down within 26 weeks; and
- Presents no mortality for soil organisms (such as worms)
In addition, all paper used is sustainably forested (FSC or PEFC). Recycled paper is not used to avoid the potential of toxins, as the original paper source is not known.
So the packaging creates no waste and improves soil quality. If you want to truly talk about ethical packaging, these guys are the real deal.
On the cusp of a composting revolution?
So composting is a great solution. But which packages are home versus industrially compostable? Often the labelling is unclear or misleading, so you need to look for the below package labels:
Commercial composting is a viable option. It requires high temperatures to break down the packaging. There are limitations due to infrastructure cost and in kerbside collection systems. It can also be subject to variables in collection streams, which can lead to contamination.
Home composting allows you to control what you put in the ground. Packaging that is properly certified, is tested to show it creates no waste and actually returns to the land and improves soil quality.
And if you don’t compost at home, there are many community composting groups who will take compost. Many councils are also seeing the value in accepting compostable material in their waste collection as it reduces their landfill cost. While councils are heading in this direction, understanding the truly compostable nature of certified packaging is still developing.
We need to be demanding a change to the products we purchase so that no waste is generated. Imagine in 5 or 10 years-time when composting is the mainstream of packaging.
The partnership between Compost Me and Eat for You is so important to us. We are truly committed to maintaining a healthy planet and a healthy you. It just takes that little bit more effort.
Do you compost? Let us know in the comments below.