💰 Free Shipping over $100 from Sydney. —— YOUR PACKAGING SPECIALIST! Learn more

Choosing Between Compostable and Recyclable Packaging

Home compostable material

Understanding Compostable Packaging and Its Benefits

Compostable packaging, a solution gaining popularity, is crafted from materials that biodegrade into biomass, enriching the soil as fertilizer. However, not all compostable options are equal. There are industrially compostable products, which necessitate specialized facilities for breakdown, and home compostable products that degrade in domestic compost setups. Home compostable materials offer the perk of being worm-friendly and non-toxic in residential environments. A notable aspect of compostable mailers is their partial composition of renewable materials, reducing overall energy consumption.

Compostable Packaging’s Environmental Impact

While compostable packaging is not a panacea for environmental issues, it marks a significant step forward. These products generally have a lower carbon footprint than single-use plastics, especially home compostable varieties that eliminate the need for transportation to industrial facilities. Compostable items also help in reducing methane emissions from landfills, a common issue with single-use plastics. However, in the absence of proper composting facilities, these materials can end up in landfills, where they decompose slower and emit methane due to lack of oxygen, typically taking about two years to break down.


Then What is Recyclable Packaging?

Recyclable packaging encompasses materials that can be reprocessed into new products at recycling facilities. This process mitigates landfill waste and reduces the demand for raw materials, encompassing a wide range of items identifiable by the recycling symbol. Recently, the recyclability of soft plastics has declined due to facility closures, pushing them towards landfill status.

Environmental Footprint of Recycling

Recycling plays a crucial role in carbon footprint reduction but is not without environmental costs. The process involves energy consumption and emits greenhouse gases. Additionally, contamination or improper handling can lead to recyclable materials being diverted to landfills. The transportation involved in recycling also contributes to its carbon footprint. It's noteworthy that in Australia, only a fraction (9%) of recyclable materials is actually processed, with the rest contributing to landfill accumulation.

recycle bins

Comparing Compostable and Recyclable Options

The choice between compostable and recyclable materials depends on the specific product and available disposal methods. Compostable items, especially home compostable, offer a waste-reducing solution that returns nutrients to the earth, though industrial composting requires additional energy. Recyclables, on the other hand, consume energy in processing and reprocessing.

The Misleading Packaging Industry

Numerous businesses market plastic bags and packaging with labels like “recyclable,” which can be misleading. Such packaging often ends up as single-use plastics contributing to the yearly accumulation of plastic waste in landfills and oceans, a significant factor in climate change. In contrast, companies like Discount Packaging Warehouse (DPW) aim to eliminate single-use plastics from shipping and packaging processes domestically and globally.