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Single Use Packaging, What are the alternatives?

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We know plastic packaging is under the spotlight and there are moves to replace it, but what are the options and are they any better?


Bioplastic, sometimes referred to as ‘biodegradable’ suggests an item is made from plant-based materials, but this isn’t always the case. Often it is unknown what type of environment bioplastics, which are made from plant-based materials, will break down in and how long it will take.

Biodegradable or Compostable?

The terms biodegradable and compostable are often used interchangeably. While there is some overlap, they do not mean the same thing! All compostable products are biodegradable, but not all biodegradable products are compostable. Biodegradable is a loose term that basically means the product will eventually degrade over time - but not necessarily into organic matter. Plastics are often labelled with this term, which means they will break down into smaller and smaller bits of plastic over time (microplastics) which are incredibly harmful to the environment.

Compostable products are made with organic elements that break down with time. These are not suitable for recycling or commercial composting.

Home Compostable

Suitable for the home compost bin but not commercial composting. However, recent research has discovered many certified home compostable packaging contain flame retardants and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), additives which enhance their structural integrity and resistance to heat, water and grease. Any plant pulp packaging falls into this category. 


Wood and paper are renewable resources, and the recommended choice of single use packaging for its recyclability. But paper production is one of the more well-known reasons for deforestation and environmental degradation. By transitioning to paper and cardboard packaging we are creating other problems.

So what is the answer?

A redesign of the whole system to allow for circularity of reusable containers.

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