Position statement from New Zealand composters on compostable packaging
What products should be made compostable?
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.
New Zealand composters are gravely concerned that a wide range of compostable materials that could devalue compost are appearing on the market. This includes nappies and sanitary products, and containers which contain residues that impact compost quality and value, e.g. containers for janitorial products, cleaners, shampoos and pens, etc.
The issue of contamination:
One of these cups is compostable, and one is recyclable – can you tell which is which?
Organisations who choose to use compostable packaging need to:
Designers of packaging need to be aware that: