More than 80% of a products environmental impact is determined at the design stage, and the same thing goes for packaging. You can design waste out from the beginning.
When designing your products packaging and choosing the materials it will be made from there are a few things to keep in mind.
For packaging and serviceware the following hierarchy should be followed:
- Prevention – eliminate any unnecessary packaging where possible
- Reusability – where possible make packaging reusable / resealable/ refillable
- Recycling – where possible make products recyclable using plastics with strong and economic end markets
What should be made from compostable materials?
Composters do not need compostable packaging to make quality compost, as it doesn’t add value to the final product. This is because compostable packaging provides little to no nutrient value for compost. However, food waste is a rich source of nutrients for compost. So, products and packaging that assist in the diversion of food waste from landfill should be made compostable, e.g. compostable food waste caddy liners. Furthermore, small hard-to-remove items that cause contamination in both commercial and home composting systems should also be made compostable, e.g. fruit stickers, tea and coffee bags, asparagus ties, banana tape. Also, agricultural items that are currently made from conventional plastic, where there is a risk that they will inadvertently remain in the soil after use, should also be made compostable, such as mulch film and net vine clips, for example.