Compostable materials will break down when left in the right environment. Ideally, this process should not leave behind toxic chemicals or produce harmful byproducts. In the best case, compost materials should be used as soil additive for plants and other organic growth. Compostable packaging is typically made from two types of materials: paper and bioplastics. There are two environments for composting: home and industrial.

Home composting is more accessible and can be done by anyone but has limitations in terms of the materials that can be composted. Industrial composting can handle more materials and can process them faster but requires more infrastructure and investment.

Despite its accessibility, home composting is NOT a practical goal for sustainable packaging. Other than paper-based products, compostable packaging materials are only industrial compostable. Think about it, packaging needs to be durable enough to withstand humid or hot environments and have a long shelf-life. These qualities make it difficult to compost at home.


Biodegradable materials can be be broken down by natural biological processes over a period of time. In comparison, compostable materials can be broken down into organic matter that can be used as soil additive for plants and other organic growth. Thus, composting is a better sustainable option.

Compostable materials are biodegradable, but not all biodegradable materials are compostable.


Updated on March 4, 2023

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