Compostable Packaging is on the Way!
While it’s going to be a few more months until your favorite Brass Roots snacks will be sold in compostable packaging, we wanted to share the exciting news now and provide you with resources to prepare for this switch.
Give this a quick read, and you’ll be a composting expert in no time!
What is Composting?:
Simply put, composting is the natural process of recycling organic matter, such as leaves and food scraps, into a valuable fertilizer that can enrich soil and plants. You may be wondering: “What does this have to do with packaging!?” Well, some super smart scientists have found ways to turn organic matter—mainly plant fibers— into packaging, and now, packaging can be composted. AKA Brass Roots’ new packaging can turn into nutrient-rich fertilizer in a few simple steps!
Benefits of Composting
Compostable packaging is an amazing invention– especially for companies like us in the snacking world. You’ve surely heard of recycling. Recycling has many great applications, but when it comes to food, recycling isn’t best suited for the job. In short, the reason is contamination. Once the typical paper or plastic food package makes contact with food, unless it is completely rid of food residue and oil, it’s considered contaminated, and it will not be accepted by most recycling facilities. Even worse, putting one contaminated item in an otherwise perfect recycling bin could make that entire bin ineligible for recycling.
This is where compostable packaging comes in. Like recycling, the aim of composting is to divert waste from landfills and give it a second life. The added bonus of compostable packaging is that there’s no need to worry about contamination. The food waste and organic materials that were deemed “contaminants” in the recycling process are valuable inputs for compost.
Not to mention, compostable packaging is made of plant fibers– unlike conventional plastic packaging, which is made of fossil fuels. By using plant fibers instead of fossil fuels, we’re limiting greenhouse gas emissions and regenerating soils!
How to Compost
Now that we know why composting is so amazing, let’s take a look at how to do it. Generally speaking, there are two ways to compost: industrial composting and home composting.
Industrial composting is a great option for those who want to properly dispose of their packaging without having to do the composting themselves. There are hundreds of industrial compost facilities in the US. Use these interactive maps to find a municipally-run curbside compost program, privately-run curbside composting program, or drop-off composting program near you! (Note: When using these interactive maps, before choosing which compost facility to work with, be sure to select the filter that says “compostable packaging.” While we will select a compostable pouch that is certified home and industrial compostable, not all industrial composting facilities accept compostable packaging.)
Some composting facilities don’t accept compostable packaging– that’s why we will be making our pouch home compostable too! As the name suggests, home composting is simply composting at home; it’s a great option for those who have home gardens and can make use of the end product, fertilizer. It is also a great option for those who want to teach their children about the amazing powers of nature!
Step 1: Decide what type of composting system to use
The most common way to compost at home is to use a composting bin. Compost bins and tumblers are available for purchase, or you can make your own using a garbage can, plastic storage bins, or pallets. Another composting method is known as “vermicomposting.” Vermicomposting, or worm composting, is a great indoor option if your outdoor space is limited (it can be done outdoors as well). You can make your own vermicompost or you can purchase one.
Step 2: Prepare the composting ingredients
There are four key ingredients to compost: nitrogen, carbon, air, and water. The nitrogen in compost comes from “greens.” Household greens you can add to your home compost pile include fresh grass clippings, food scraps, and coffee grounds. The carbon in compost comes from “browns.” Typical browns you can add to a compost pile include dead leaves, branches, twigs, paper, and compostable packaging.
Step 3: Assemble your compost!
To expedite the decomposition process, ensure your browns and greens are cut into small pieces (ideally no thicker than a finger). Then, simply begin layering your greens and browns. Many suggest a 1:1 ratio of browns to greens. When tending to your compost, it’s important to monitor the temperature, aeration, and moisture levels. This is where the key ingredients air and water come in. Compost thrives in warm temperatures, when it is turned every 2-3 days, and when the moisture resembles crumbled chocolate cake. If you notice your compost is dry, add more greens and water. If you notice your compost is too wet, add more browns, and give it a turn.
If you’re interested in composting at home, check out these detailed guides about home composting from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Natural Resources Defense Council. This video from Better Homes and Gardens does a great job explaining how to start home composting too.
Congratulations! You’re now an expert on composting! Thanks for reading along and supporting us on this journey. Stay tuned for updates on our compostable packaging launch.
The Brass Roots Team