Sustainable Packaging Material Comparison Chart
There’s lots to think about when choosing eco-friendly packaging (you could say it’s a material decision 😉). For us here at good natured®, it’s all about giving you options to reduce your reliance on fossil fuels, removing chemicals of concern like BPAs and phthalates, and making it easy and affordable to make the switch.
SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER
• Are you packaging food? If so, make sure you’re choosing a food safe material from a supplier with the appropriate food safe quality assurances, like SQF or CFIA. You’ll want to make sure you’re staying away from certain materials, like PVC (#3) and polystyrene (#6 and “Styrofoam”). These are often cheaper, but contain some really nasty additives that can leach in certain conditions. Yuck – even the word “leach” is kinda gross, right?
• Speaking of additives, nobody wants nasty chemicals in their packaging – we get it. It’s more about being able to know exactly what you’re buying. A responsible supplier should be able to provide you with a Letter of Guarantee carefully outlining what their material purchasing and manufacturing practices guard against. For us, it’s all about making sure our products don’t contain Chemicals of Concern. Not now, not ever!
• Where is your packaging being used? In a retail store where visibility, shelf life and damage protection are critical? Or are you working in more of a grab-and-go situation where longevity and “airtightness” are less important?
• Hot or cold? Or both? How do you make and store your products before they’re made available for purchase? Are you preparing fresh foods that are flash frozen for their trip to the retail shelf? Oils and acids? Or do you ship your products to hotter parts of the country? These are all important to consider when choosing a sustainable material. Some like the heat more than others. Most are quite happy in frosty conditions, including some compostable materials, like our PLA. ☃️
• What about end of life? If you’re able to go full closed loop with a compostable option that biodegrades into natural elements over time, we strongly recommend doing so. In addition to creating more options beyond just recycling, certified compostable materials go through rigorous testing to ensure their safety and biodegradability claims. You’ll have assurance they don’t contain harmful chemicals that risk contaminating our environment (or our bods!), which is an added bonus for peace of mind. You can read more about compostability here.
• What about recyclability? The big myth in the packaging world is that only certain materials are recyclable. This is simply not true. Certified compostable polymers, like PLA and PHA, are equally recyclable to traditional plastics (we use recycled content every day in our own facilities). The consideration is more about what recycling programs exist where you’re distributing products and/or what mandates are in place at the retailers where your products are sold. If curbside recyclability in the maximum number of communities is the most important factor, we’ve got the latest plant-based materials that can help.
• And finally on the topic of renewable, plant-based materials, it’s now your choice. Depending on what end of life option works for your needs, we can offer you packaging made with anything from 20% to 100% plant-based content.
OUR MATERIAL CHOICES
We offer eco-friendly packaging in 3 distinct material families. Each of these has its own unique benefits to meet the widest possible combination of needs for our customers. Our goal is to make it easier for you to make the switch to plant-based, so we’ve got options. Who doesn’t like options, right? Let’s dive in and take a closer look.
A great option if you’re packaging take-out food where product visibility isn’t critical but the need to stand up to smoking hot contents most definitely is! Per ASTM D6400 testing standards, our fiber products are compostable in commercial compost facilities and can stand up to the greasiest of greasy spoon situations.
Check out our full assortment of molded fiber take-out containers.
Bio-PET – Say What?!?
If you thought #1 PET was just available in petroleum, have we got news for you! Hot off the press, we now offer some of the first and only PET packaging material made with plant-based materials in North America. 🎉
Bio-PET is chemically equivalent and performs identically to petroleum-based PET #1, because well, it is PET. That means it can go straight in the blue bin to be recycled with any other PET #1. The trade-off is less renewable plant-based content for now, but a step forward if you must accommodate curbside recyclability. You can learn more about Bio-PET here.
Our Bio-PET food packaging is not yet available for online purchase, so please reach out if you’d like to explore this option further.
PLA / CPLA
The full monty when you’re ready to go all the way. Our PLA and CPLA material are certified compostable in industrial facilities and made from 97-100% renewable, plant-based material (yes, of course any extra “sprinkles” that make our packaging stronger or brighter or more flexible are free from Chemicals of Concern). CPLA itself is made for higher heat applications like microwaving. If compostability and maximum percentage of plant-based content are your hot buttons, this is for you!
Many of our most popular PLA-based food containers are available to buy online, so make sure to check out our full assortment.
SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING COMPARISON CHART
Like a Chicago-style deep dish, we know this is a lot to digest. 🍕 Take a look at our handy comparison chart that lays it all out in black and white (… and blue and grey). And click here for a shareable copy.