What is Compostable Packaging?

Compostable packaging will break down into natural components in a composting environment. When packaging is Certified compostable, the biodegradation will occur within a specific timeframe.

What materials are commonly used in compostable packaging?

Compostable bioplastics are usually made from a combination of;

What is the difference between biodegradable and compostable packaging?

The terms 'biodegradable' and 'compostable' are often used interchangeably, but they are different, the main difference being the specific conditions required for their breakdown.

Biodegradable packaging will break down naturally over time, but it doesn't necessarily have a defined timeline or specific environment required for degradation.

While all compostable packaging is biodegradable, not all biodegradable packaging is compostable. To be considered Compostable, packaging requires the heat and moisture generated in a compost for it to completely breakdown, AND it will do so within a set timeframe.

How do I know if packaging is compostable?

Look for certification symbols and numbers. The number associated with a certification symbol is the key to identifying it as legitimate as this is how the material can be verified. The Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) guidelines state that when a product is claiming certification, it must also have the ABA number otherwise there's no way to trace what it is made of and therefore whether or not it's legitimate.

Take me to a more in-depth guide.

Is compostable bioplastic better than plastic?

While compostable bioplastic packaging can break down into non-toxic matter under specific conditions, it's important to note that almost all bioplastics are made from virgin petroleum-derived materials. This dependency on (non-renewable) oil is far from ideal. It is also important to consider that not everyone will have access to composting conditions and if so, this packaging will likely be sent to landfill. Bioplastic packaging also has a shelf-life and will lose its strength after 9-12 months.

Therefore, while compostable packaging offers potential benefits, it is essential to consider the entire life cycle and environmental factors when evaluating its superiority over plastic packaging, in particular recycled plastic packaging like POLLAST!C which is scientifically proven to have a lower carbon footprint.

What compostable packaging should you use for your e-commerce brand?

  1. Compostable Mailers: If you ship goods, a compostable mailing satchel can be a good choice. These bags are durable and customised with your branding.
  2. Compostable Poly Garment Bags: For clothes or goods that need extra protection, consider compostable garment bags transparent enough to scan barcodes through.
  3. Compostable Labels: Look for options made from compostable paper or compostable adhesive materials to ensure they can break down during composting.

💡 It's important to partner with reputable suppliers or manufacturers who can provide certified compostable packaging materials. Look for certifications like the "Compostable" or "Seedling" logos, which indicate compliance with recognised industry standards. Consider conducting a thorough assessment of the available options to ensure you choose packaging that aligns with your brand values and environmental goals.


To dispose of compostable packaging, you have a couple of options, depending on the certification:

  1. Suitable for Home Compost: If you have a home composting system, you can typically add compostable packaging to it. Remember to take off any (non-compostable) labels and seals first
  2. Suitable for Industrial/Commercial Compost: Many foodcourts, cafes and workplaces have special bins for food scraps and compostable packaging. The contents will be collected regularly and sent to commercial composting facilities.

Compostable bags have the potential to break down in a landfill, but their ability to do so is significantly hindered due to the conditions found in typical landfill environments. In landfills, waste is usually buried and tightly compacted, creating an anaerobic (oxygen-deprived) environment in which nothing breaks down.

The ideal disposal method for compostable bags is still to put in a proper composting facility. This ensures the full and timely breakdown of the bags into organic matter, which can then be used to enrich soil and support agricultural practices.

Sustainable packaging demonstrates a brand's commitment to environmental responsibility and social consciousness. Customers are more likely to support companies that prioritise sustainability, as it aligns with their values and ethical expectations. By investing in sustainable packaging, businesses can enhance their brand reputation, build customer trust, and establish long-term relationships with environmentally conscious consumers.

Ultimately, the "better" option depends on factors such as waste management infrastructure, the type of packaging material, end-of-life scenarios, and the overall environmental impact.

In the short-to-medium term, not everyone will have convenient access to composting facilities or a suitable garden for composting their packaging materials.

In contrast, recycling is widely accessible to most people. However, "soft" plastic cannot be effectively recycled through conventional recycling methods.

It's crucial for everyone to minimise waste sent to landfills. By switching to reusable containers, reducing packaging consumption, and considering composting (if feasible); these are vital steps towards an ultimate solution.

If you can't avoid using plastic, try sourcing recycled plastic instead of using virgin plastic like our POLLAST!C range.

Here are some of our customer's custom sustainable packaging to hopefully inspire you to choose better!

We can make almost anything you've seen in plastic out of certified compostable materials instead. The key differences will be that the compostable packaging will have a smooth matte feel, smell slightly like burnt sugar (this is the plant sugars) and have an shelf-life (it will have to be used within a certain timeframe).


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