Compostable Versus Biodegradable Product Packaging Material

biodegradable and compostable packaging

Should I throw this packaging in the trash? Recycling? Compost? None of the above? Properly disposing of our waste can get complicated, but it’s something we can all do to improve our environment.

Compostable and biodegradable packaging are two of the most popular forms of eco-friendly packaging. Unfortunately, this is where things get a little confusing, but we’ll explain everything in depth. 

Biodegradable Packaging

Biodegradable packaging is defined as packaging that decomposes into non-toxic materials and gets broken down by microorganisms. 

Benefits of these designs include:

● Sustainability 

● Availability 

With innovative packaging designers working hard to find alternatives to harmful materials, such as plastic, plenty of biodegradable packaging options are emerging.

However, there are some severe downsides worth mentioning. The most significant one is its time frame. Biodegradable products can take days to even decades to decompose fully. The ones that take a long time still significantly damage and litter our environment. 

Either way, it’s still a step in the right direction. With less environmental harm and various design options available, companies can start on their journey towards sustainability using biodegradable packaging. 

Examples of Biodegradable Packaging

●     Bio-plastics: Made from plants, this material is a 100% biodegradable alternative to sturdy plastic. However, it doesn’t seem to have the strength that companies and consumers prefer.

●     Corrugated bubble wrap: Made from 100% recycled cardboard paper, this bubble wrap can be used in various forms of packing and shipping to protect products.

●     Mushroom packaging: This creative eco-friendly packaging consists of agricultural waste tied together by mushroom roots. It decomposes impressively fast, making it a great environmentally friendly alternative for packaging.

Compostable Packaging

Biodegradable can sometimes be confused with compostable due to their similar characteristics.

However, ‘compostable’ refers to an object that decomposes quickly in a controlled environment. Composting facilities effectively decompose products by managing temperature, humidity, and other elements or bacteria in the air. This is different from biodegradable objects, which can take decades to decompose. Compostable objects may quickly decompose in one of these facilities or at home.

A great example of compostable packaging is the palm leaf takeout container. Fallen palm leaves are purely natural and completely compostable. This sustainable alternative proves more effective than using plastic or styrofoam material. 

A More Beneficial Approach to Product Packaging

The most significant benefit to these packaging options is their long-term sustainability. It’s also non-toxic to the environment since compostable items are entirely natural and decompose quickly.

However, in product packaging, there are not as many compostable options as biodegradable ones. It isn’t easy to create a package that is truly 100% compostable. Additionally, recycling facilities may have strict regulations regarding what can be composted. Many objects labeled as such don’t even end up in compost facilities.

Although sustainable alternatives have challenges regarding biodegradable and compostable packaging, they remain more environmentally beneficial. Furthermore, these eco-friendly packaging alternatives lead to a more sustainable future for the packaging industry.

Pioneer Packaging is Focused On a Sustainable Future

For over 35 years, Pioneer Packaging has been the go-to source for designing sustainable product packaging that sells. Our creative designers work closely with you to ensure your brand is recognized for quality in packaging design and earth-friendly materials. 

So whether you’re looking to get compostable or biodegradable packaging at affordable prices or attract new consumers, we can create a design fit for you. We strive to keep costs down as much as possible to help our customers keep their brands moving along production lines.  

Contact Pioneer Packaging today and learn why we’re a leader in packaging innovation.

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