Compostable packaging has begun to receive a lot of attention for its outstanding qualities. However, there is still a lack of awareness or knowledge about compostable packaging or what to do with compostable packaging. We’re seeing many companies adopting the new compostable packaging materials (including Newpack), whether in the form of cups, forks, take-out food containers, or mailers. It’s great to see this, and it’s a fantastic example of a step in the right direction for a promising future. The most exciting part is that the consumers who buy these products also have a role to play.
What does Compostable mean?
Composting is the natural process that allows organic matter to decay and turn into compost. You can collect your kitchen waste and create a small compost pile, which could turn into useful fertilizer for the kitchen garden. This can be done in your backyard—or even in compost containers as some creative people have come up with ways to compost in small apartments. Compostable packaging would mean that the materials can decompose into nutrient-rich soil within a certain period in a home-compost bin.
So what are biodegradable products? Aren’t they the same thing?
The answer to this is yes – the compost breaks down into the earth but adds nutrients to the soil while doing so. The term ‘biodegradable’ sets no limit on how long the process of decomposition takes. Even a regular plastic-made poly mailer is biodegradable – but the whole process of decomposition can take hundreds of years! Compostable packaging is different in that way. The waste material breaks down into natural elements within a very short period in a proper compost setting faster than ‘biodegradable’ products. Compostable packaging is also considered sustainable packaging because it releases no harmful residues as the materials break down. In short, everything composable is biodegradable, but everything biodegradable is not compostable.
What are Compostable Mailers?
Compostable mailers are the replacements of the old plastic mailers with new plant-based mailers. Poly mailers are efficient shipping mailers that protect your products from weather conditions and during transit from the factory to the customer. However, unlike poly mailers, these compostable mailers are made from plant-based materials such as PLA and a certified compostable material called PBAT. So a big no-no for plastic!
These tear-resistant shipping bags are made out of 100% corn-based polymers. This makes them easily compostable in a home or industrial compost heap. This creates an opportunity for a circular economy where sustainable packaging materials can be disposed of by the users for alternative uses without harming the environment.
It will only take about 6 months to completely break down and decompose in your very own backyard or compost bin. They are also durable, stretchable & water-proof. It distributes weight evenly, prevents tear & weather protection for shipping in all climate conditions. It releases no harmful residues while composting.
So how exactly do you decompose them?
The best thing about a compostable mailer is that it’s a mailer that can be reused. If the mailer’s condition is good, you can use it for another package before you think about composting it. All you may have to do is remove or cover any shipping labels and seal it with eco-friendly tape to reuse it. By doing this, you just saved yourself the cost of a new bag and gave this one a second life. After one or more usage, once you’re sure that your bag has reached the end of its life, here’s how you can compost it.
At the time of its final disposal, you will need to remove all the shipping labels, stickers, and adhesives from your package, and that’s about it – you’re ready to compost now! Just drop the bag in your compost bin or heap if you have one in your backyard alongside your other bio-waste. It will take about 180 days to break down into the soil. Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy!
Don’t worry if you haven’t started composting at home yet, or you don’t have a home compost facility. You can find plenty of places around the neighbourhood to drop your mailer bag, simply search on the internet for ‘composting facilities’ around you. Sometimes you can find pick-up services, or otherwise, you can find a convenient location to drop off your compost. Trust the process – it’s easier than you think!
Last but not least, the role of the consumer is key to participate in this drive for sustainability as without their usage and conscious efforts to dispose of the used mailers for composting, the whole idea would be rendered moot.
Newpack is committed for this, are you? Start using the compostable mailers and go green!!