Today consumers continue hoping for more environmentally friendly packaging options. In response, brands and manufacturers have begun producing compostable flexible packaging, allowing consumers to create resources out of plastic.
In the United States, about 50% of flexible packaging can be recycled through in-store drop-off programs, while others present more of a challenge with today’s technology and recycling facility infrastructure. Some of the plastic we use ends up contaminated with food waste after use and is not able to be recycled, and is consequently sent for incineration or to the landfill. However, compostable packaging allows for the landfill and incineration to be avoided, and the compost produced returns organic matter to the soil.
What is compostable flexible packaging?
For plastic to be considered compostable, it must be able to biodegrade or break down into carbon dioxide, water, or biomass at the same rate as paper. It also needs to disintegrate and be indistinguishable in the compost, and refrain from producing any toxic material.
Compostable flexible plastic packaging includes bio-based plastics, or bioplastics, which are plant-based materials that replace the traditional plastics derived from petroleum. They are composed of polymers from renewable resources, such as corn, cellulose, plant oils, animal fats, and oils. Compostable flexible packaging takes many forms, and, best of all, it is just as durable and convenient as conventional flexible packaging.
Types of compostable flexible packaging:
Compostable stand-up plastic pouches
Products such as the Bio-Pouch™ by PPC Flexible Packaging features a plant-based, annually renewable, compostable pouch that biodegrades in industrial composting facilities per conditions set by ASTM D6400.
Plastic zipper bags
Small plastic zipper bags that are commonly used for food and apparel packaging are now being offered in compostable formats. Products such as TIPA’s zipper bags feature a certified home compostable zipper for a secure close and easy-open.
Compostable flexible packaging films
Manufacturers of flexible packaging films are adapting compostable films designed to replace the main film used in flexible packaging. These films are created to completely break down and be used as other resources. Although compostable films are not widely available yet, we can expect to see them in the future as packaging technology continues to grow.
Flexible packaging results in far less waste than traditional types of rigid packaging and uses fewer resources in the production and manufacturing phases. All of these benefits make compostable flexible packaging a wonderful choice for both brands and consumers who wish to play their part in taking care of the environment. To learn more about the sustainability of flexible packaging, visit our resources page here!