What does home compostable mean?
Simply put, if the packaging is home compostable, it can be placed in the compost bin or heap at home, along with all the other organic waste material such as fruit and vegetables, garden, and grass cuttings. Meaning that any home compostable packaging component materials must decompose into organic soil at temperatures than home compost bins and heaps commonly reach, including printing ink, transparent screens, and resealable zippers.
The main difference between home compostable and compostable packaging is their ability to decompose at different temperatures. The industry standard for composting in the UK is the EN 13432. It states that a home compostable package must be able to ‘disintegrate’ at temperatures between 20-30°C. After six months, over 90% of the product must pass through a 2mm sieve. Which, as you can imagine, is a tiny sieve!
Cotswold Granaries new food range packaging meets the requirements of European composting standard EN13432, meaning it is suitable for both composting at home and industrial composting. We're proud of our new packaging and it was achieved by ensuring all the different components of the packaging are all plant-based. Mainly starch and plant fibres!
Why do we need home compostable packaging?
Unfortunately, nothing is ever as simple as you would like it when trying to be environmentally responsible. In this case, it is since there is more than one type of compostable packaging! Many companies have released and introduced new ‘compostable’ and ‘biodegradable’ plastic alternatives like water bottles and bags, but this can often be misleading.
Many of these products only break down in industrial or commercial composting facilities where the compost is guaranteed to reach high temperatures. Although, in theory, that sounds great, the reality is that there are too few of these facilities available now.
To add even more confusion to the mix, some companies are introducing degradable bags that are neither compostable nor recyclable. They degrade quicker than ordinary plastic bags. We here at Cotswold Granaries say, let us make it simple! Home compostable packaging has been designed precisely to compost into the soil in an ordinary compost heap or bin at typical temperatures.
We need to act now because single-use plastic packaging accounts for an estimated 40% of all plastic produced in the world today. According to Defra, with more than half, or 51 million tonnes, recyclable waste ends up in landfills or destroyed in the UK. With stats like these everywhere and seemingly getting worse each year, the focus needs to turn to solutions for these mounting waste problems.
Cotswold Granaries’ ethos has always been as environmentally friendly as possible, and this new food range lives up to those standards and could offer a timely solution. Individuals that believe there needs to be a shift towards zero waste packaging and lifestyles can now start to make those changes with what they choose to buy. Cotswold Granaries wild food range with 100% home compostable packaging will hopefully be one of the first of many companies offering products that can help move towards a more sustainable future.
How do you dispose of home compostable packaging?
Composting is making a resurgence in the UK. With consumers being more conscious in their purchasing choices, now is the time for compostable packaging! Composting is the process of recycling organic waste to eventually be reused when you take organic materials and allow them to decompose, which then creates fertilizer for your soil.
If you have a compost heap or bin at home in your garden or outdoor space, simply put the packaging in with all the other garden waste, fruit and vegetable scraps, grass cuttings and brown materials such as small sticks and twigs. Suppose you manage the compost heap reasonably, turn it on a semi-regular basis, and use the right materials to compost. In that case, the packaging will have composted to the soil within six months.
What is the difference between home compostable packaging and biodegradable packaging?
Most people are under the impression that you are helping the environment by using biodegradable packaging and bags. Unfortunately, much like mentioned before, it is not that simple, and the word biodegradable is obsolete as most materials will biodegrade over time. Along with the fact that there are no defined time limits and regulations on how long the material takes to ‘biodegrade’, means that the word is essentially pointless when trying to be environmentally friendly.
The way biodegradable packaging, usually bags, is disposed of is also problematic. A high percentage of them end up in landfills unable to decompose, and they typically cannot be recycled as their chemical make up is so different from recyclable plastics.
On the other hand, as mentioned above, home compostable and compostable packaging have legitimate disposal means. Home compostable packaging is much simpler. Just put it into your compost heap or bin. It’s a little less straightforward with compostable packaging as you’ll have to find a composting facility. Either way, it results in a more environmentally friendly outcome than buying and using ‘biodegradable’ packaging.
What is the difference between home composting and industrial composting?
As you can see, if you've read down to this part of the post, in the packaging world, compostable and biodegradable mean something a bit different. Typically, when a package is "compostable", it can be turned into compost if entered into an industrial composting facility. And therein lies the vital distinction. Compostable products have to dispose of in the right conditions, often only found at commercial and industrial compost facilities. They won't always biodegrade naturally in a landfill, especially if it is an "air locked" landfill where there will be no oxygen.
Compostable packaging is excellent for the environment, but it is essential to ensure that your compostable packaging waste is going to a compost facility.
Although a product may state that it is 'Compostable', it does not mean that your local council will allow it in your green waste collections. The majority of local authorities will not take compostable packaging in either their garden or food waste collections. The risk of contamination can be too costly to the local authority. So although commercial composters, in theory, can process this waste, they are not doing so because of the risks of contamination.
If this has all been far too confusing, don't worry, we're here to help make things simpler! Home compostable packaging is the solution to making a genuinely zero-waste environmentally conscious purchase. Click here to see our range of Wild Animal Foods in home compostable packaging.