Packaging, plastic, waste and sustainability. It's a mind-field out there! We embarked on a journey through the mind-field to find the most sustainable packaging, and want to share what we've learned.
Everything Is Not As It Seems
The label 'compostable' is appearing on more and more packaging and suppliers were telling us that their packaging was 'compostable'. Now, when average Joe hears 'compostable' we think of our Granny's composting bin at the back of the garden that would create soil for the plants. Not so the case with most packaging labelled 'compostable' unfortunately. It's compostable, compostable but...
In Europe the legal standards usually look like 'Compostable EN13432', you will see this on packaging you get from coffee shops and lot's of other places. All looks good right? Well, what that actually means is that it is compostable under certain conditions, typically industrial levels of pressure and heat. You're home composting is never going to achieve the kinds of conditions needed for these items to compost. You can put them in your brown bin, but that's about it, a lot of them are still using plastic and aren't made from natural ingredients.
It is better than plastic packaging which lasts for centuries but really, it's nowhere near the levels of sustainability we were aiming for. We wanted our packaging to be completely biodegradable and not last for centuries. Something our Grannies could compost.
Finding Packaging To Love
After a lot of research, calls and quotes we settled on a company called NoIssue. And boy are we thrilled with the results! The packaging is made from corn, meaning it's fully biodegradable and will return to nature after just 90 days in a home compost heap! Not only is it good for mother nature but they worked with us to make it gorgeous af! Our charity partners will now have truly compostable packing bags, and for the more delicate items, paper and stickers for an extra layer of protection.
Being A Zero-Waste Thrifter
Once you receive your thrift gem, it's really important to remember that the address label is not compostable. We're working hard to identify a compostable sticker in the size we need but the ones we've found so far aren't sticky enough and fall off! Good but no good if it doesn't actually make it to you.
When you've removed the label, you can compost the bag straight away or, if why not re-use or re-purpose it. Here's some of the things we've done with our used bags:
- Sent books, gifts or gems to friends.
- Used it to fill with soil and as a liner in pots.
- Gotten creative. Here are some of our favourite ideas for re-using packaging. (Remember packaging can be dangerous for small children!)
If all else fails, you can simply compost it!
For more pictures of our packaging have a peek at our Instagram post here.