Challenges to be more sustainable
IMCD highlighted solutions
Differentiate biodegradable & compostable
While not all biodegradable materials are compostable, all compostable materials are biodegradable. The key difference between them comes down to two key factors:
The base polymer: A compostable product can be converted into compost because it’s a non-fossil base. That is not the case for biodegradable materials.
Degradation time: If materials degrade in less than 180 days, the product is compostable. If it takes longer, then it is biodegradable.
Think about these 5 key perspectives
Machinery and processing: Think through how your processing approach will need to change to manage the new materials without sacrificing the quality of the end-product.
Packaging properties: Make a shortlist of biodegradable materials that can meet the desired requirements.
Required biodegradability tests: Testing required for certifications for biodegradable packaging vary around the world, with some countries being more advanced than others. Testing takes a long time, and there are many new certifications coming in. Try to have a clear idea on what's the type of certification you need to optimise your resources and testing time.
Applicable regulations: Remain up-to-date with all your countries’ requirements to anticipate new regulations rolling out.
Consumer behaviour & end-of-life: Consider three consumer factors when selecting the proper material; reasons for buying biodegradable packaging, appearance and usability, and how to dispose of the packaging (its end-of-life).
Biodegradable packaging needs to be specially sorted by the end-user. Although the industry is making clear shifts towards biodegradable packaging, consumers are still confused about the nuances and their role in the disposal. And with greenwashing making headlines around the globe, it’s no surprise that consumers are unclear.
As a result, biodegradable packaging ends up in the wrong composting systems, in landfills, or in locations that do not have the right conditions for their decomposition. With biodegradable materials, they don’t take thousands of years to degrade; when we put them in the right places, we reap the benefits.