Working towards

compostable packaging solutions

The work of our compostable packaging technical advisory group aims to remove the challenges compostable packaging faces in New Zealand. We’re partnering with other stakeholders and organisations to ensure we come up with robust solutions that benefit our environment, communities and businesses.

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Work programme

Phase 1
compostable coffee cup

Research and Analysis
October 2020-March 2021

  • Define use-case for compostable packaging
  • Stocktake of compostable packaging projects
  • Stocktake size of compostable packaging industry and stakeholders
Phase 2
cardboard packaging

Transition
April 2021-March 2022

  • Home composter trial with NZ Gardener, WasteMinz and home composters in New Zealand
  • Work with solutions providers to develop capacity, infrastructure, collections
  • Support key stakeholders as required to reach outcomes
Phase 3

Delivery
April 2022-March 2023

  • Implementation of a working system for compostable packaging/products
  • Product stewardship co-design process

What’s included in our work?

  • Food serviceware such as coffee cups, fibre-board plates and bowls, wooden and PLA (polylactic acid) cutlery
  • Flexible plastic packaging such as starch/PBS blends
  • Rigid plastic packaging such as PLA
  • Courier bags
  • Other compostable packaging manufactured and sold by members

What’s not included?

  • Oxo-degradable plastics
  • Packaging with contents that are harmful to the end of life environment. e.g. most beauty and cleaning products

Why compostables?

Compostable packaging can play a significant role in keeping packaging out of landfill. This is particularly the case where the content has nutrient value and where packaging would be too contaminated for recycling.

But when compostables do get put into landfill instead of being sent to composting facilities, they cause problems due to the methane they release. That’s why brands, consumers, collectors and processors all have a role to play in ensuring this type of packaging ends up in the right place.

Some of the items suitable for being composted are FMCG packaging for products containing food, fruit stickers and food serviceware. The composting process allows this type of waste to be turned into a valuable addition to soil.

Compostable packaging does not have a role to play in products with contents that are harmful to the end of life environment and composting process.

Current barriers to compostable solutions

We’ve identified a number of barriers to compostability in New Zealand. Our team is working with other stakeholders through a systems approach to arrive at a national solution that benefits New Zealand and New Zealanders. Some of the barriers we believe need addressing are:

  • No agreed compostability standard for NZ conditions
  • No agreed labelling standard
  • Limited collection network
  • Variation of compostable products and facility requirements
  • Confusion with conventional (non-compostable) materials
  • Contamination
  • Organic certification requirements for facilities
man holding compostable coffee cup
child planting in compost

Our team

Our technical advisory group is led by Kim Renshaw from Beyond the Bin and includes Packaging Forum members with  expertise and interest in compostable packaging and end of life solutions.

  • BioPak
  • Ecobags NZ
  • Foodstuffs
  • Futurity Group
  • Innocent Packaging
  • Plus Pac Packaging Solutions
  • The Better Packaging Company

Our team works with other stakeholders throughout the supply chain.

Join us to make packaging
reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025

Coffee Cups