This month we take a look at how companies can take a proactive role in sustainability with compostable packaging.
Everything we use at Raw Gorilla is recyclable, and our new chok packaging is totally compostable with no plastics.
Composting is the process of recycling organic waste so that it can eventually be reused... Typically, what packaging company mean when they call their product “compostable” is that it can be turned into compost. Many supermarkets are aiming to end the criticism on the amount of plastic packaging using in food by moving to biodegradable and compostable packaging.
There is some confusion in some people's minds by what is meant by compostable, biodegradable and degradable.
Degradable does not mean biodegradable.
Biodegradable means something (a substance or object) is capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms, thereby avoiding pollution. It is environmentally friendly.
The word “degradable” really just means that something breaks down.
Technically, all plastic is degradable plastic. You can break it with a hammer. You can grind it into a fine powder. This all counts as “breaking down” the plastic, and therefore (technically) “degrading” the plastic.
Some plastics have added chemicals that will make the plastic break down faster under certain conditions. For example, you can add an additive to normal, petroleum-based plastic that will make it become brittle and crumble in sunlight: this is referred to as making “photodegradable” plastic. Other additives can be put into plastic that will make plastic break down by oxidation: this is referred to as making “oxo-degradable plastic.”
These methods will make the bulk of the plastic appear to disappear; however, the small particles which are produced by this effect are still small pieces of plastic called 'micro-plastics'. Nothing has changed, the plastic material does not “return to the earth” in any real way, it just gets really, really, small and actually creates a much bigger problem in our environment and eco-system as invisible litter.
Biodegradable Plastic is plastic which will eventually degrade from the action of naturally occurring microorganisms (e.g., bacteria, fungi). On its own, the term is to a degree obsolete as there is no time requirement for the biodegradation of biodegradable plastic. Nor is there any requirements for “eco-toxicity” (harmful residues) which may be left behind.
Compostable products are biodegradable materials that break down quickly under defined conditions that can support plant growth. A compostable product must meet specific criteria in terms of time, environmental conditions and quality of compost produced.
Looking at packaging carefully is important so that we understand what we are buying and that something is environmentally friendly.
We believe the earth is alive- just as our bodies, so what we put back into the earth, how we farm (organic farming), and what we consume, really does matter. Just as it matters what we choose to eat.
At Raw Gorilla we have kept everything as natural as when nature made it. All used ingredients are Soil Association Organic Certified & Plant-Based, and our production does not involve any refining or processing. The packaging is 100% recyclable for our breakfast products & our new chok has compostable packaging.