What is Compostable Packaging and Why is it important?

Are you a business looking for a sustainable packaging alternative? Whether you're an eco-business strengthening its sustainable business practices or an enterprise migrating to an eco-conscious company, compostable packaging is a great sustainable swap to replace plastic! In this article, find out what is compostable packaging, its benefits, and its importance!



compostable mailer packaging minliving


Compostable Packaging


Compostable packaging is a kind of sustainable, eco friendly packaging material that can compost at home or in an industrial composting facility. It is made from a combination of compostable plant material such as corn and compostable plastic called poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) or better known as PBAT. PBAT creates a tough but flexible material that allows the packaging to compost and biodegrades faster into natural, non-toxic elements that nourish the soil. Unlike plastic packaging, certified compostable packaging breaks down within 3-6 months - the same speed organic matter decomposes. It does not pile up in landfills or oceans that take hundreds of years to decompose. Under right compostable conditions, compostable packaging decomposes right in front of you or better yet, your customer's eyes.


Composting at home is convenient and easy to do unlike in a compost facility. Simply prepare a compost bin where food scraps, compostable product such as compostable packaging, and other organic material is mixed to create a compost pile. Aerate the compost bin from time to time to help it break down. Expect the materials to break down within 3-6 months. This is something that you and your customers can do and is an additional experiential brand journey.


Furthermore, compostable packaging is durable, water-resistant, and can withstand climate changes like regular plastic poly mailers. This is why it is a great plastic-free alternative while doing your part in protecting mother earth. This works well for compostable food packaging as well.


Benefits of switching to compostable packaging


plastic pollution beach

Chance to break free from plastic


With the rise of e-commerce plastic waste, businesses and consumers have a role to play in protecting mother earth from increasing plastic pollution. According to vox.com, the pandemic created a surge in Amazon, an e-commerce platform, with a reported net sales of $96.2 billion in the third quarter of 2020, a 37 percent increase from 2019. This alarmed environmentalist since plastic packaging as well as the bubble wrap that comes with each package is the main material for shipping.


This is where compostable materials plays a crucial and valuable role to successfully employ sustainable business practices. Simply switching to a sustainable alternative like compostable packaging could help alleviate or at least lessen the current plastic problem. If more businesses offer this plastic shipping alternative and more consumers support business that uses it, we could somehow create a new, sustainable method of shipping. By using compostable packaging, you create an opportunity for other players in your industry to do the same. In essence, compostable packaging is the chance to break free from plastic use.

Consumers are looking for sustainable packaging


In a recent survey by mckinsley.com, they found that the pandemic has reshaped US consumer's views on sustainable packaging and that they are willing to pay more if their products are shipped in eco-friendly packaging. The article states, "consumers are willing to pay more for green, but they would also buy additional sustainably packaged products if more of them were available and they were better labeled. " This shows us that more and more consumers are concerned about the growing plastic problem. By switching to compostable packaging, not only does your business make sustainable packaging available for consumers, but you also contribute to protecting the planet.


Cuts shipping costs


laptop credit card payment

The general rule for shipping is that costs are measured by weight. Thus when items are shipped in a limiting packaging such as a box, it costs more. The nature of compostable packaging, however, is tough but flexible and less rigid than a box. It is smaller in shipping size and weight which in turn cut shipping costs.


What does it mean when shipping costs are cheaper? Customer conversion rates are higher with cheaper shipping costs than those that charge more. This is simply because people want a cheaper option or an option that's at least worth their money such as using eco-friendly packaging.


Strengthens your brand


As explained in an article by loyaltylion.com, the experience of unboxing is an effective marketing tool that could drive customer loyalty and retention. Their case in point is the time and thought former designer officer of Apple Jony Ive and Steve Jobs have given on the packaging of Apple products.

In Steve Jobs, Jony Ive was quoted, “Steve [Jobs] and I spent a lot of time on the packaging. I love the process of unpacking something. You design a ritual of unpacking to make the product feel special. Packaging can be theatre, it can create a story.”


When you are a business that sells eco-friendly products, it's best to complete the "sustainable brand" narrative. From employing sustainable manufacturing practices to using compostable packaging materials to carry your products - it's better to go all the way with sustainability and practice your brand values. It enhances the customer journey which in turn drives customer loyalty and retention.


Be part of the growing ecopreneur community


It's a worldwide movement to switch from the old business practices of using non-renewable resources to sustainable alternatives. These kinds of businesses do have a premium with eco conscientious consumers which are equally growing. For this reason, there is a need for more sustainable businesses to cater to the demands of eco-friendly consumers.


Aside from this, there are newly emerging rights declared as Solidarity Rights. This includes the right to a healthy and balanced ecology and its realization requires global cooperation. This article from the Council of Europe explains, "The idea at the basis of the third generation of rights is that of solidarity; and the rights embrace collective rights of society or peoples, such as the right to sustainable development, to peace or to a healthy environment. " Your business can achieve this goal by simply switching to better sustainable alternatives such as using compostable packaging.


Switching to Compostable Packaging is Easy


There is really nothing to worry about in the migration from traditional packaging to compostable packaging. They essentially do the same job with the added benefit of helping the environment. With the advancement of technology, the durability and handling of traditional packaging can also be achieved with eco-friendly packaging. Initially, customers would not feel the difference in terms of quality but once they know that it is environmentally friendly and that it won't end up in a landfill or ocean as regular plastic do, they would see the big positive disparity.


Compostable packaging fits harmoniously with the Life Cycle Analysis.


recycling life cycle chain

According to sciencedirect.com, a Life Cycle Analysis is a method used to evaluate the environmental impact of a product through its life cycle encompassing extraction and processing of the raw materials, manufacturing, distribution, use, recycling, and final disposal. If you're a business embarking on sustainability, using a Life Cycle Analysis is a systematic, data-driven tool to make sustainability-related decisions. It can be a standard guide to help you decide what kind of business practices you will follow to attain a sustainable business practice. It can also be used as simple as deciding which packaging to use for your business.


Do note that biodegradable packaging and compostable packaging are different and will be explained in another article. Besides that recyclable packaging or recycled material is also totally different from compostable items.


Conclusion


It's already a great step to consider switching to eco-friendly packaging so it's important to educate ourselves to make the right decision. Choosing a sustainable packaging alternative really depends on the capability and needs of your business. Knowing this information about compostable packaging and a systematic approach sets you off to a great start.


If you are interested in compostable packaging, minliving™ produces certified compostable mailers that jumpstart your sustainable business journey. They are 100% home compostable which you can conveniently compost at home or give to the nearest composting site.

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