Are EcoEnclose products compostable?

According to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), in order for a material or product to be considered to be "Compostable", the product must: 

  1. break down to carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass at a rate similar to paper
  2. disintegrate into small pieces within 90 days, so that the original product is not visually distinguishable in the compost, and
  3. leave no toxic residue.

Many of EcoEnclose's products are made with recycled paper, making them naturally biodegradable and therefore compostable in backyard and industrial composting facilities. This includes:

Though these products are technically compostable, they are also recyclable and we highly recommend that they be recycled versus composted. The only instance in which we recommend composting over recycling is if this packaging has a high volume of food grease or residue. Recycling is preferred to composting in general (recycling is higher on the sustainable waste management hierarchy) and for recycled paper products in particular, it is impossible to verify whether the origins of all of the glues, inks, toners, chlorine, and coatings that may have been used on the original feed stock that went into this packaging. If you or your customers do plan to compost them, we recommend removing adhesives, labels and tape before doing so.

Our  100% Recycled Ivory Poly Mailers, 100% Recycled Gray Poly Mailers, and 32.6% Recycled Bubble Mailers are not compostable. They are made with traditional (petroleum-based) plastic, and we take great pride in using as much recycled plastic as humanly possible in them. This focus means that all of the virgin plastic being used in the world can be recycled into something useful in its second or third life. These mailers are 100% recyclable, and can be dropped off at almost any grocery recycling drop off for plastic bags. 

Materials that are  naturally compostable and contain minimal printing – paper, hemp, bamboo, cotton, etc – don’t require certifications. That’s why you don’t need newspapers, paper towels, cotton clothing, etc to be certified in anyway (unless it is heavily printed) – you can just throw them in any decently maintained compost. We prefer the term “naturally biodegradable” to describe the type materials that are entirely derived from natural fibers and aren’t chemically altered in any way. Any industrial composting facility that accepts paper would accept things like paper towels, corrugated, cardstock, paperboard boxes, etc.

On the other hand, compostable certifications are absolutely critical for bioplastic because bioplastic is chemically derived, so testing has to be done to see how it degrades over time and in different environments..

Read more on our blog post!

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