The Truth About Composting

Finding ways to reduce your impact on the environment can be a tough task made more confusing with the amount of information available.

There is little clarity around regulations, how specific materials can be used and what really happens to our waste. As a result, this is leaving people making decisions without a full understanding of the situation. Often this leads people to opting towards compostable as being the best solution.

Although this may seem like the best option in the current climate, you could be making no difference and, in some cases, doing more damage. With a lack of infrastructure and widespread knowledge around compostable products, the truth behind these items is often misunderstood.

Many businesses are moving to compostable packaging for their food related products. Although this may seem like a good idea, Foodstuffs NZ don’t entirely agree. They have created 10 packaging principles that they work to. These include reducing packaging where possible, educating consumers and being specific about the types of plastics used. Their seventh principle provides a great insight into the way the market is moving: "Do not use oxo-degradable plastics. Avoid all ‘biodegradable’ plastics. Avoid all rigid ‘commercially compostable’ bioplastics. Only use HOME compostable bioplastics when there is minimal risk of them entering the recycling system and ensure compostability claims are current and substantiated by an accredited certifier."

From this you can see that the importance of having a closed loop for these solutions is the key to making them work. This raises the issue that there are 8 industrial composting facilities and only 2 community facilities that accept compostable packaging.

So how do you decide what to do in the current climate? Being able to take a holistic approach to your business’ overall systems and practices can open a range of opportunities for you to reduce your impact.

At Snell we have a range of specialists who can provide insight into ways that your business can make a tangible difference right now. For more information as to
how you can improve your environmental impact, contact your Snell representative.