More than 8000kg of plastic ends up in the ocean every year. By 2050 – just 32 years away – there will be more plastic in the sea than fish, a report from the Ellen McArthur Foundation estimates.
Turning to sustainable ways of packaging products is slowly becoming more popular, yet the focus has largely centred on plastic bottles and takeaway cups instead of supermarket packaging. Despite the increase in biodegradable items, a more renewable option is needed. As the United Nation’s head scientist Jacqueline McGlade pointed out last year, biodegradable packaging only works when it ends up on land. When it finds its way to the ocean, it lacks the right conditions to break down.
In an effort to minimise landfill and ocean pollution, some companies are turning to compostable packaging. Able to disintegrate into natural elements when in a compost environment, this kind of packaging is actually good for the earth, as it provides soil with important nutrients. Unlike biodegradable packaging which can take years to completely break down and disappear, compostable packaging takes just months – between 1 and 4, as a rule. Furthermore, where biodegradable packaging can leave traces of metal behind, compostable packaging doesn’t leave anything – toxins, metals or otherwise.
New Zealand business Ceres Organics have launched the world’s first transparent, triple-layer home compostable packaging for their Organic White Quinoa. Made from renewable sources such as wood pulp and printed with wood-based inks, the packaging reflects the brand’s mission to promote sustainability and limit waste. When placed in a standard compost bin, it will break down into tiny pieces within 4 months. “This new home-compostable pouch is an exciting step towards reducing the amount of plastic being sent to landfill,” says Ceres Organics’ Managing Director, Noel Josephson.
The revolutionary packaging has another benefit, too – it actually enhances the freshness of the organic quinoa and matches the conscious ideals surrounding the grain, which is ethically grown by Peruvian farmers.
Across the globe, British company Snact have partnered with an Israeli packaging company, Tipa, to make the UK’s first 100% home compostable packaging. Just as long-lasting as plastic, the packaging decomposes to become a fertiliser for soil within 6 months. “We have found a way of being disposable without causing environmental damage,” says Snact co-founder Ilana Taub.
While compostable packaging does cost more to make than plastic, a need for eco-friendly alternatives is paramount. With a handful of companies leading the way in sustainable packaging, we can reduce the amount of toxins, waste and pollution harming the planet.