New Label Helps You Compost Food Packaging


Have you ever tried to compost a “compostable” packages in your backyard? It doesn’t work.

Most food packaging that’s labeled compostable doesn’t break down in a backyard compost bins. Materials like compostable plastic need the high heat conditions found in a commercial compost facility, which backyard compost bins just can’t provide.

This problem with compostable packaging isn’t common knowledge, but a new label is aimed at educating consumers, so we can make informed buying and disposal decisions. The label also includes a link to the How2Compost website, where you can learn more about composting and locate a composting facility if you need to.

Compost Label

Look out for this new How2Compost label to know if packaging is backyard compost bin suitable | image: Sustainable Packaging Coalition

The How2Compost label launched in 2016, and it specifies whether or not a product’s packaging is compostable in a regular backyard bin. The label is still new, and right now only two companies are using it. Reynolds has the How2Compost label on certain packages of Hefty bags and tableware. Eco-Products will use it on its secondary packaging – the packaging within its recyclable outer packaging that protects the product from damage.

As the market for compostable packaging has grown, new options have been popping up, not all of which are truly compostable. The How2Compost label signifies packaging that is certified compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI). How2Compost is an extension of the How2Recycle label, which gives consumers clear recycling instructions for packaging.

Choosing products with compostable packaging helps create demand and incentive for companies to ditch conventional packaging materials in favor of more eco-friendly options. Hopefully this new label will help educate consumers further, so we can easily choose the correct disposal methods and not junk up our backyard compost bins.

Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”) is an Impact Mill contributor and crafts and food writer from Atlanta who has a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. Her mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone.