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2021 Compostable and Biodegradable Packaging Guide

2021 Compostable and Biodegradable Packaging Guide

Biodegradable vs. Compostable

Knowing The Difference!

A. Check if it is genuine!

Before we start...
Biodegradability means a product will break down into material elements. The crucial question is often 'how long?' - Short term (e.g. under 10 years) or thousands of years? 
Compostable products break down into natural substances. e.g. If you put compostable courier bags into the dirt in your garden, the composting component is significant. BUT if you put compostable courier bags into your kitchen bin, the composting component is not significant. 
If you're interested this is a great link from the CSIRO (The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation): Biodegradable versus compostable – knowing your eco-plastics

Biodegradable versus Compostable


​There's a lot of misinformation around so check for these symbols:

Also check if your supplier is part of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation. ABL is!

The Great Debate - Is Compostable or Biodegradable Best?

A complex debate that still rages..
Checkout this great article from ECOBAHN:
Plastic vs Compostable Packaging: Which Is Better for the Environment?


B. Product Design Innovations!

  • Paper Packaging Tapes
    • Tesa and Ubis offer paper packaging tapes that are made of 99% recycled backings rather than plastic polypropylene backing. 
  • Water Activated Tapes
    • These are sustainable paper tapes that use a water based 'craft style' glue. Combined with the right equipment, they are a time efficient solution for both small and large users. (Amazon uses this tape in their distribution centres!)
  • Compostable Packaging Tapes
    • Monta, a Germany company, produce a compostable packaging tape made from bio based film with a natural rubber adhesive (90% recycled). It is superb quality!
  • Cardboard Boxes
    • Mainstream Australian carton pulp manufacturers use recycled paper or paper derived from sustainably produced pulp. The status of overseas cartons can vary so check for the correct identification. 
  • 'Thin' Palletwrap
    • New plastic technologies mean that thinner films can be very strong. e.g. 15um can be as strong as 23um when using our Maxstretch Xtreme Palletwrap. This technology means less landfill and raw material consumption. Other advantages include lower cost and better ergonomics.
  • Void Fill Solutions
    • 'Void Fill' means products that fill 'gaps' in cartons and prevent damage in transit. 
      • Bio-Fill - These are cornstarch made packaging peanuts.
      • EcoPure Bubble Wrap - This special bubble wrap has an additive that ensures that it biodegrades in landfill within 5 years.
      • Hexcelwrap - A honeycomb, compostable and recyclable paper product that cushions and protects products in transit
  • Day To Day Consumables
  • Compostable Mailers
    • ABL's range of plant based compostable mailers are suitable for e-commerce and general warehouse use. These mailers can be reused as mailers or alternative tidy bags. 
  • Compostable Plastic Bags
    • Compostable produce bags are now available and we anticipate more general use compostable bags to be stocked in the coming months.
    • All conventional plastic bags over 35um thick are re-usable and businesses may be devise clever ways to reuse plastic bags. 

C. What's Coming Next?

Throughout the coming months/years sustainability and eco-friendly products will be in high demand. To further meet the ever changing world of packaging, here at ABL we are currently looking into sourcing:
  • Plant Based Compostable Palletwrap
  • Biodegradable Courier Mailers

For more information on sustainability and eco-friendly products please don't hesitate to contact us. 

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