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Are EcoEnclose products compostable?Updated a year ago

According to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), 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 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 generally preferred to composting, which is higher on the sustainable waste management hierarchy. For recycled paper products, in particular, verifying the origins of all of the glues, inks, toners, chlorine, and coatings that may have been used on the original feedstock that went into this packaging is impossible. If you or your customers plan to compost them, we recommend removing adhesives, labels, and tape.

Our Poly Mailers and 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 possible. This focus means all virgin plastic used worldwide 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.

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

On the other hand, compostable certifications are 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.

If you're looking for compostable packaging, read our compostable packaging guide.

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