You might have noticed two different labels on BioPak packaging: certified home compostable, and certified commercially compostable. These each refer to the two different methods of composting: at home, or in an industrial (commercial) facility.
How composting works
Composting is a process that breaks down organic matter through the use of fungi, bacteria, insects, worms and other organisms to create a nutrient-dense ‘compost’. This compost can then be used as a powerful fertiliser and soil conditioner.
Industrial composting versus home composting
Both forms of composting create a nutrient-rich compost at the end of the process. Industrial composting can sustain the temperature and stability of the compost more rigorously.
At the simplest level, home composting produces a nutrient-rich soil as a result of the breakdown of organic waste such as food scraps, grass clippings, leaves, and tea bags. This occurs over a period of months normally in a backyard compost barrel, or a home compost bins. But, the conditions and temperatures for home composting sadly will not break down PLA bioplastic products and isn’t suitable for meat, fish or dairy as the smell can attract vermin.
That’s where we turn to industrial composting – a multi-step, closely monitored composting process with measured inputs of water, air, as well as carbon and nitrogen-rich materials. An industrial composting facility optimises the process to ensure rapid biodegradation of organic material by controlling conditions like shredding material to the same size or controlling the temperature and oxygen levels and ensuring that a high quality, toxic-free compost is produced.
Why do composting certifications matter?
Once you know the difference between home and commercial composting, it’s important to note packaging must have certifications to ensure that it is actually compostable. Simply labelling a product “compostable” does not specify how a product can be composted (it may only be able to decompose in a commercial facility or have components such as inks and glue that impact the compost quality negatively).
That’s why we make sure our compostable packaging products are certified to Australian and European standards so that you always know how to compost our products responsibly.
Why we design for the circular economy