Compostability is one of those contentious topics in the plastics packaging space. In general, consumers and companies seem to like the idea.
In fact, brands and suppliers typically center their sustainable goals by pledging to make their products or packaging 25% to 100% recyclable, reusable, or compostable by 2025 or 2030.
By contrast, many industry professionals aren’t on the compostable bandwagon.
The viewpoint expressed by PlasticsToday’s veteran reporter Clare Goldsberry last March that made our shortlist (Are Compostable Plastics Really a Sustainable Solution?) summarizes this stance: “despite claims made by some companies, very few composting facilities will accept so-called compostable plastics, and the small number that do, require adherence to a strict set of guidelines.”
Likewise, sustainability expert Robert Lilienfeld, who manages the recently launched sustainability think-tank group SPRING, is no proponent, either. However, industrial composting is listed among 5 suggested tactics in SPRING’s Sustainability Roadmap:
“Industrially compost packaging that is inextricably tied to food and yard wastes. These packages must be: 1.) certified as industrially compostable, 2.) physically and/or economically challenging to separate out of traditional packaging waste streams, and 3.) considered to be a contaminant in mechanical recycling streams.”
Notably, the list of tactics is a hierarchy, with composting as the fifth of six tactics, positioned after chemical recycling and just ahead of landfilling or converting to energy.
However you or your company feel about compostable packaging, the market is growing like crazy — it’s forecast to grow at a CAGR of 17.4% for the period 2021 to 2028 and reach a value of $25.4 billion, according to a report from Data Bridge Market Research.
Highlighted in this breezy slideshow gallery in descending order are six of PlasticsToday’s best-read features of 2021 on compostability. If you have further interest in this market, this PlasticsToday webpage offers a comprehensive list of 500+ articles on the topic.
Onto the gallery, where the #1-read compostable article of 2021 involved a pioneering resin supplier and a major food packaging brand owner.