What is eco-friendly, green and/or sustainable packaging?
Eco-friendly packaging refers to both material and design choices that reduce the environmental impact of the packaging through its full life cycle. This may be achieved by utilizing materials that are rapidly renewable, compostable, and/or recyclable.
Eco-friendly packaging can also include design innovations, such as using lighter weight or less material, rightsizing fit to reduce air space, and being especially purposeful about where single-use packaging is the best decision to protect the product and reduce food waste. The goal is to create a closed-loop system where packaging materials can be reintegrated back into nature or recycled, reducing the strain on natural resources and ecosystems.
Common examples of eco-friendly packaging materials include some types of fiber or paper, certified compostable plastics, and packaging made from annually renewable resources. All eco-friendly packaging should intentionally eliminate chemicals that have been deemed potentially harmful to human health and the environment, like BPAs, phthalates, PFAS and phytoestrogens.
Thinking about going eco-friendly? Learn more about our sustainable packaging materials on our Packaging Materials Comparison page.
Can plastics be eco-friendly?
Yes, we believe they can! Plastic packaging often gets a bad rap, but in some cases, it can actually have a lower environmental impact than other materials like glass, metal, or even paper. Here's why:
1. Lightweight Nature: Plastic is generally lighter than glass or metal. Lighter packaging means lower transportation costs and reduced fuel consumption during shipping.
2. Energy Efficiency in Production: Creating plastic packaging often requires lower processing temperatures compared to producing glass or metal, and significantly less water than some paper and fiber options.
3. Versatility and Visibility: Plastic packaging can be molded into various shapes and sizes, offering versatility in design and fit. Like glass, it can also be transparent and protective, but without the added weight.
4. Recycling Potential: Investments in plastics recycling should continue to improve collection and re-use rates across a broader range of plastics, including compostables. Aluminum is highly recycled, but glass can be tricky given its weight and risk of injury when broken.
Each material has its pros and cons, and the choice of packaging material should consider a holistic view of the product you’re creating, where it’s distributed, shelf life and the best end-of-life option. If plastic is right for you, our plant-based options are purposefully manufactured and designed to be eco-friendly by using more renewable resources, less fossil fuel, and no chemicals of concern.
What is a bioplastic?
Typically, when you see something labelled as a bioplastic, it means that plastic material contains a certain amount of rapidly renewable “plant-based”, or “bio-based”, content. Recently, there hasn't been much progress in establishing a standard minimum amount of bio-based content required in bioplastics, despite previous efforts to do so.
To make it less uncertain in our good natured® world, we use the term “bioplastic” to mean a material with at least 20% renewable plant-based content that can be curbside recycled and mixed together with traditional petroleum-based materials. For example, our Bio-PET material is chemically equivalent to its petroleum PET counterpart and can even be blended with up to 25% Post-consumer Recycled Content (PCR) for an ultra eco-friendly one-two punch!
Head over to our bioplastics page for more deets on this innovative material.
Why don’t you make plastic-free products?
First, we have to define the word “plastic” to understand if something is “plastic-free.” Plastic is made through the “polymerization” of materials derived from petroleum or plant-based resources, which can be molded and shaped when heated. While there are more technical aspects associated with manufacturing plastics, we're all about keeping it simple over here!
By this definition, biodegradable and compostable plastics are still considered a type of plastic. Labeling a product as “plastic-free”, like many PLA or PHA straws on the market, is misleading and even a form of “greenwashing” to imply that something is not plastic simply because it’s made without petroleum.
Our commercially compostable PLA plastic packaging (yes, that’s right - not “plastic-free”) is third-party certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) and Composting Manufacturing Alliance (CMA), meaning it will break down in a commercial composting facility into elements found in nature, within a controlled time frame. Also, if it happens to end up in a landfill, it will break down into natural elements and release no chemicals of concern into the surrounding environment, however the timeline is not controlled in this setting.
We’ve dropped some truth bombs about the world of biodegradable plastics on our Compostable Packaging page- check it out to learn more!
What do you mean by plant-based plastic? Is it different than a bioplastic?
There are lots of different terms used to describe plastics made from renewable resources, like bio-based plastics and bioplastics (sometimes even called “plastic-free”, but we don’t play by those rules). We like to keep things real-world and easy to understand by using the term “plant-based” when referring to any of our bio-based materials and bioplastics that are made with annually renewable resources.
What is PLA?
PLA, the perky nickname for Polylactic Acid, is a material made from renewable resources, like corn, sugarcane or beets, that can be certified compostable in industrial facilities to break down into natural elements at the end of its useful life.
Most of the certified compostable packaging you’ll find today in North America is produced using PLA because it’s currently the most abundant and cost-effective option. If you want to learn more about these types of plant-based plastics, check out our Compostable Packaging page.
What is CPLA?
CPLA, also known as Crystallized Polylactic Acid, is a heat resistant variation of PLA material. This ultra-special material is not only made from annually renewable plant-based material and contains no BPA, PFAS and other chemicals of concern, but it's fully microwavable and certified compostable too!
So, if you’re looking to make the switch to compostable but need something to withstand temps up to 100°C, our family of CPLA GoodToGo™ Microwavable containers might be just the ticket!
What is Bio-PET?
Bio-PET is a PET #1 plastic material that contains up to 30% plant-based content. It is identical to PET in every way and processes, forms and performs because it is PET. The only difference is that 30% of the raw materials come from renewable resources instead of fossil fuels.
A direct drop in replacement for rPET, aPET or PLA, our Bio-PET has the same clarity, the same barrier properties and no changes whatsoever in temperature resistance – either hot or cold. Plus, Bio-PET not only contains up to 50% recycled content, but it can be co-mingled with any PET material, recycled and re-used through any curbside program that accepts PET #1.
Head on over to our Rollstock page if you’re interested in learning more about our different plant-based formulations and where you can get in touch to learn more about how you can start using this new material.
What is Bio-LDPE? What about Bio-LLDPE?
Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) is a popular lightweight, flexible material that used for things like flexible pouch packaging, zipper and storage bags. Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) is part of the same family, and excuse us while we geek out for a second, contains longer polymer chains meaning that the properties are different, the most noticeable being increased flexibility and stretchiness for certain applications like stretch wrap. This material is typically marked with a #4 recycling symbol and are often eligible for in-store drop-off or closed loop recycling programs. The majority of curbside recycling programs do not readily accept #4 LDPE in North America.
The ingredients for Bio-LDPE and Bio-LLDPE come from plant-based sources rather than from fossil fuels. Most often, the plant-based feedstock is currently sourced from rapidly renewable sugarcane. Apart from the ingredients coming from renewable resources, the performance, properties and recyclability of Bio-LDPE are identical to petroleum-based LDPE meaning products made from Bio-LDPE and Bio-LLDPE can be “co-mingled” (meaning all mixed up together) with the traditional stuff.
What is Bio-HDPE?
High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is used to produce stronger, more durable products designed to stand the test of time and is often used to make durable jugs for milk and other beverages. 💪 The feedstock used to create Bio-HDPE is often sugarcane. This material is typically marked with a #2 recycling symbol, which is readily accepted in many curbside recycling programs throughout North America.
We currently use Bio-HDPE to make our Recyclers, Handy Totes and Waste Collectors, all of which contain 90% plant-based content.
And yep, you got it, Bio-HDPE can be recycled right alongside traditional petroleum-based HDPE #2 – sweet!
Is your food packaging available in both PLA and Bio-PET?
Our certified compostable plant-based packaging made from PLA is available to buy online in all of our most popular designs. If you’re interested in making the switch to Bio-PET food packaging, let’s talk so we can set up a program just for you.
We can design a custom package for you in either material. One material may work better for your specific performance or usage requirements, we’d love to talk to you more about how to make your switch to plant-based as easy as possible.
What is your material made of?
If it’s our food packaging, we currently use a base of either a PLA or Bio-PET. Today, the main feedstocks used to produce these two materials are corn and sugarcane, depending on where in the world the material is being produced. As technology advances, we’re seeing feedstock sources change and evolve quickly to include more fringe crops, agricultural waste and micro-organisms.
From the base material, our technical team adds additional “herbs and spices” to make it perform at optimum levels.
We continue to add to our material portfolio as and when new options become commercially viable, meaning when prices come down to an acceptable level for mainstream commercial applications and there’s adequate supply of the material.
As for our bins and totes, pallet stretch wrap, food storage bags and bin bags, the raw material is sustainably sourced and rapidly renewable sugarcane.
What if I'm allergic to corn?
The chemical substance in corn that causes allergic reactions, the allergen, is called profilin. Profilin is a protein that breaks down and is completely destroyed at temperatures over 55°C. In order to produce PLA bioplastic resin, the initial raw material, corn, goes through the following high heat processes:
1. Starch is extracted from the corn. Corn, depending on its source, contains about 5-9% protein and 60-65% starch. In order to extract the starch, corn gets cleaned and then goes through steeping (wet milling) where it gets soaked in water above 50°C) for over 40 hrs to break the starch and protein bonds. Then the starch is separated from gluten by centrifugation. At this point it might still contain about 1% protein. In order to remove the last traces of protein, it goes through multiple wash cycles.
2. The resulting starch is converted to D-glucose (dextrose) and then to lactic acid.
3. The lactic acid is then “polymerized” to produce PLA resin at over 200°C.
Given the long timeframes of applied heat, plus the final polymerization stage where the temperature far exceeds the level at which corn proteins can remain intact, the resulting PLA resin is free from any trace of initial substances, particularly, the immunologically reactive allergen, profilin. We want to make sure you have the information you need to make an informed decision for your health and well-being. If you have further questions regarding allergens, please contact us directly for more information or reference material.
Are the plants that you use taking away from the food supply?
Corn is currently the main source of raw materials in North American sourced PLA based bioplastic because it’s incredibly abundant. In commercial farming facilities, not all corn goes to sit on the dinner table, and there are by-products made available through the corn refining process. For instance, a corn crop could be used to make a combination of corn oil, animal feed, sweetener or maybe even plant-based plastics. Altogether, bioplastics use less than 1% of global corn supply annually. Compare that with the 33% of food that gets wasted every year… The impact of plant-based plastics on food supply is extremely small.
You can learn more about the certification at sfiprogram.org.
Do your products contain toxic chemicals like BPAs or phthalates?
Absolutely not! We are 100% committed to keeping BPAs, phthalates, fluorocarbons, phytoestrogens and all those other nasty chemicals out of our packaging and products. Check out the list of things you won’t find in our stuff on our Chemicals of Concern page..
Do you sell resin?
We specialize in transforming plant-based ingredients into finished goods, which means we get to see a lot of the latest and greatest ingredients out there, including resin. Check out our polymer engineering pagefor more information and get in touch if you’re after something unique. Our CTO will love you for it!
How do you brand your products, so your customers know they are plant-based? How do you suggest communicating this to my customers?
If we’ve learned one thing, it’s that we’re all super confused about what all these environmental checklists, certifications and claims really mean! We got some really good guidance early on to “keep it simple, cupcake” and continue to recommend taking a “just the facts” approach to the messaging around sustainability. There’s a lot of greenwashing in this industry, and we’re committed to keeping on a path that doesn’t add to the muck!
You’ll see us consistently focused on delivering just a couple key facts about our plant-based products that we know matter most to consumers:
1. The % of plant-based content
2. What you can do with it when you’re done – recycling or compost symbols, as appropriate
You’ll notice there isn’t a ton of marketing messages all over our food packaging. We’ve heard you - the focus needs to be on your products, not us! 🤐😁
If you have more questions on how to let your customers know about your focus on sustainability, we’re here to help! Reach out to your account manager or please get in touch.
If your PLA food packaging is made from 99% plant-based content, what’s the 1%?
You know that soap example where it’s 99.9% pure? We’ve got a little bit of that going on to make sure we stay in the “under promise, over deliver” camp. The majority of our food packages are USDA Certified Biobased Products made from 100% plant-based content.
In some cases, a specific customer might need an extra boost of durability or color, so we add an additive that may reduce the plant-based content closer to 99%. These additives are FDA approved and contain no chemicals of concern. We use the same thermoforming mold to produce all material variations of our food packaging, so you know you’re getting a minimum of 99% plant-based content.
All our food packaging labelled as 99% plant-based has also been tested according to ASTM D6400 to ensure it will break down within 180 days in an industrial compost facility.
What about Bio-PET? If it's made with up to 30% plant-based content, what's the rest?
The remaining 70% is made from a mix of materials, including our own post-industrial recycled Bio-PET, rPET and in some cases through special order, post-consumer recycled PET (PCR). We’ve increasingly been asked for a material that’s readily accepted in most curbside recycling programs, can contain recycled content and also reduces their use of fossil fuels. This baby fits the bill!
As for BPAs, phthalates and other nasty stuff, just like all our products, our Bio-PET does not contain any chemicals that are potentially harmful to human health or the environment. Not now, not ever.
What about CPLA? If it's made from 97% plant-based content, what's the rest?
Our collection of GoodToGo™ Microwavable Containers, the first in our family of Hot Grab and Go products, are made from 97% annually renewable plant-based material and no chemicals of concern.
Just like with our PLA, for these products made from CPLA, we need to add FDA approved additives in order improve the performance, durability and heat resistance of our products which reduces total amount of plant-based content. Our engineering team work hard to ensure we can always use as much renewable material as possible without compromising the performance of our products.
Is your PLA, CPLA and Bio-PET packaging CFIA/FDA approved for food contact?
Yes! Bio-PET ingredients are suitable for food applications and are approved by both the CFIA and FDA. Our PLA and CPLA packaging material ingredients have all been FDA approved, and the majority of our formulations are also CFIA approved. For more information on specific approvals by individual material grade, please get in touch.
End of Life Options
What does biodegradable mean? What does compostable mean? And what the heck is the difference?
The term “biodegradable” is intended to mean that a product will break down into elements found in nature over time. The biodegradation process and timeline is dependent on the surrounding environmental conditions (e.g. location or temperature), and there is no regulation or standardized testing to determine when a material labelled as biodegradable must break down. This is why the term “biodegradable” is coming under increased pressure from the FTC Green Guides due to the risk for greenwashing.
“Compostable” is intended to mean that a product will break down in a commercial composting facility into usable soil within a set timeframe. This regulated timeframe is what creates the big difference between a product that can be certified compostable using standardized third-party testing and one that is biodegradable.
To add to the fun and excitement, not every biodegradable plastic is compostable, and not every plant-based plastic is biodegradable. This is a big topic with a lot of terms that get used interchangeably when they really shouldn’t, so if you’re still a little lost (totally fair), check out our Compostable Packaging page. Our goal is to lift the fog as best as possible and let you make an informed decision.
Can I dispose of compostable plastics in my backyard?
The certification process for compostability is limited to commercial facilities where the exact temperature and mixing for optimum biodegradability can be regularly monitored. While compostable plastics and other products made from plant-based materials may start to show signs of biodegradation in a home compost over time, they likely won’t disappear within a 180-day timeframe.
The composting process is activated by a precise combination of heat, sunlight and moisture. This balance between “it’ll break down only under certain conditions” and “it’ll break down whenever, wherever” is actually what makes compostable packaging possible—it’ll stay intact on a store shelf or while holding your food, but it can be broken down and used again to grow more plants once sent to a composting facility.
Should I buy compostable or curbside recyclable?
When it comes to clear packaging, we’ve split our materials into two categories: Bioplastics and Biodegradables. Our Bioplastic packaging made from Bio-PET carry the #1 symbol and are accepted in most curbside recycling programs. Our Biodegradable clear and take-out packaging is made from either PLA or bagasse and is optimized to break down in industrial compost facilities (although PLA is just as recyclable as PET, and we use recycled PLA every day in our facilities – it’s more about whether your local recycler accepts these materials).
At good natured®, we’re committed to offering compostable options as the most eco-conscious choice, but we recognize not all communities are ready to go all the way to compostable. Here’s a few reasons why we think it’s best.
Using compostable food packaging can actually help the recycling stream, because food scraps and its container can all go in the same composting bin, decreasing food contamination in typical recycling streams (if you’re putting any containers in your blue bin now that are not squeaky clean, your local recycler is tossing them out, btw). Also, when a package is composted, that compost is used back in the natural environment to create a variety of things, such as food, landscaping, or maybe more plant-based materials. And finally, compostable packaging is usually made with the highest percentage of plant-based content, meaning we’re using more renewable materials and less fossil fuels for everyday items. That’s a big win in our books!
What if I don’t have an industrial composter that accepts compostable plastics in my area?
We understand having access to an industrial compost facility is not always an option depending on where you live. The good news is, a growing list of recycling facilities also accept PLA (which can also be recycled multiple times before eventually being composted)! While the recycling industry catches up, we know our commitment to delivering products and packaging made from annually renewable materials and no chemicals of concern is a better choice for us and the environment, so we offer both compostable and curbside recyclable options.
Are your products recyclable?
All thermoplastic materials, meaning those that can be heated and re-shaped multiple times, can be collected and re-used to make new products. However, we’re guessing what you’re really asking is whether you can toss good natured® packaging into the blue recycling bin. In that case, the answer is “it depends”.
Recycling services vary greatly by region and are often connected to what recycling and sorting infrastructure exists in a particular community. There is increasing regulatory pressure to ensure that only those materials that are collected through curbside programs for a majority of households should use the “chasing arrows” symbol and promote their recyclability. Currently, that is limited to #1 PET and #2 HDPE in the majority of communities in North America. Our good natured® Bio-PET meets these criteria, and you can learn more about it on our Bioplastics page.
When you hear that plant-based plastics are not recyclable, what they’re often saying is that compostable plastics are not distinguishable by most recyclers if they do not have sophisticated sorting equipment to differentiate between them… yet. It does not mean that the material cannot be used again. In fact, we use our own materials over again wherever possible (check out the FAQ on “does your packaging contain recycled content?” for more info on this!).
What is recyclable packaging?
Currently, recyclable packaging typically refers to packaging that has been made from materials that are accepted by a majority of curbside recycling programs and then sorted, cleaned, processed and/or reground before being sold back to manufacturers to be reused or reprocessed into new products and/or packaging.
Technically, all thermoplastic materials are recyclable and can be reused, it just depends on the capabilities and efficiencies of the waste management facilities in your area. Visit our Recycling page to explore just how much and what types of plastic are actually recycled in North America (the answer might shock you!).
Is there a difference between recycled and recyclable packaging?
Recycled and recyclable packaging sound super similar, but they actually represent two distinct aspects of sustainability in packaging.
Recycled packaging is crafted from materials that have been previously used, collected, and reprocessed to create new packaging products. From a sustainability standpoint, this allows us to divert materials from the waste stream, reduce the demand for virgin resources, and minimize the environmental impact associated with the production of new packaging. For instance, our Bio-PET formulations can be blended with up to 25% post-consumer recycled content (PCR).
Recyclable packaging, on the other hand, refers to materials that have the potential to be collected curbside in most North American homes, processed, and manufactured into new products after their initial use. It's crucial to note that the recyclability of materials depends on the local recycling infrastructure in your area, and proper sorting and disposal practices are essential to ensure those materials are effectively reused.
Check out our Rollstock page to learn about the different amounts of recyclable materials we use in our packaging.
Do PLA contaminate recycling streams?
That depends entirely on the recycling facility. Many things contaminate recycling streams. Food particles, and especially oils, remaining on food packaging contaminate recycling streams. Lids left on bottles and jars contaminate certain recycling streams. Labels left on containers can contaminate recycling streams. Basically, anything that requires a material to be further manipulated, washed or sorted is considered to contaminate the recycling stream. PLA often takes the rap for all of this, but it’s no more contaminating than any of these other factors.
Another aspect to contamination is if a recycling facility is not receiving enough of a particular type of material to economically sort and re-sell it for profit. Many recyclers are optimized to sort PET #1 bottles and HDPE #2 milk jugs for this reason (which is why we think our new Bio-PET is a pretty neat idea to make a positive environmental impact on two fronts!). When a material arrives that does not meet this profile, recyclers complain that it creates delays and reduces their profitability. For many recyclers, PLA is still in the “too small to bother” category, but that does not mean it’s not recyclable at a technical level.
What is reusable packaging? What are alternatives to disposable packaging?
It’s all in the name – packaging designed for reuse! For packaging to be considered reusable, it must possess the performance abilities to be used multiple times when transporting, storing, or packaging goods. Developing reusable packaging for appropriate applications is an important element of the overall “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” approach to purposefully manage material usage.
But hey, making everything reusable is not a miracle fix for packaging waste. We can only stash so many reusable containers at home, and some are just too messy or bulky to bring back for a round two. That’s where clever design can help.
Packaging manufacturers like ourselves are being encouraged to design containers to encourage re-use, like resealable lids, easy-to-clean formats, and durable performance features to withstand even the bumpiest rides or stacking requirements.
Our GoodToGo™ Microwavable packaging has been designed with this in mind! Both freezer-friendly and suitable for microwave re-heating, they’ll also do just fine through multiple dishwasher cycles on the top shelf. They include resealable perimeter seals to keep your leftovers fresh and intact and are free from chemicals of concern that in other plastics might leach when heated.
Does your packaging contain recycled content?
It sure does! We use up to 50% recycled content in all our clear plant-based food packaging. Most of this currently comes from post-industrial trim from our own production, but we now also offer a Bio-PET formulation that contains 20% plant-based content and up to 33% post-consumer recycled content (PCR). If you’re interested in learning more on this, check out our Rollstock page and get in touch to discuss.
And a note to recyclers… When it comes to PLA, we’ll take it off your hands! Check out our FAQ on “does PLA contaminate recycling streams?” for more info on this.
What happens when your packaging ends up in the landfill? Or in the environment?
When you see a product that’s marked as “certified compostable” that means it will also biodegrade over time in a landfill or in the environment; however there are no set guidelines to monitor how long the biodegradation process will take, unlike compostability. It’s important to point out that all materials will degrade to some extent when exposed to the elements, and that has always been a cornerstone of our Green Chemistry approach. As plastics degrade, they begin to release some of their chemical compounds into the surrounding land and water. It’s for this reason that we remain staunchly committed to manufacturing products and packaging that do not contain any hazardous chemicals that may leach into the environment.
What happens if they end up in the ocean?
You’re right to be concerned about this. We are too! Keeping foreign materials out of our oceans is becoming more and more crucial, especially plastics. Our products and packaging have not been tested for this specific end-of-life option, and we don’t make “greenwashing” claims that can’t be supported with specific evidence. In the spirit of supporting a renewable, closed loop economy, our #1 goal is to have our materials end up in the appropriate facilities where we can re-use them or turn them into compost.
What third party certifies your products as compostable?
Does a label affect if the packaging is compostable? Do you offer certified compostable labels?
That depends… The size of the label and the inks used on that label can have more impact on whether your packaging is compostable or not. All compost facilities accept a certain level of “contamination” in small amounts, and labels are often a part of that. We therefore recommend keeping your labels to the minimum size required to communicate your message (or seal your package!). Also, make sure you check with your label provider about all 5 components of the labels you’re using to get a sense of your label sustainability:
1. The paper or plastic material of the label itself
2. The inks used to print your labels
3. The type of adhesive used (this is the nasty stuff, in most cases!)
4. The coating, if any, applied on your label to give it a shiny or matte finish
5. The backer that the label ships to you on – is it as sustainable as possible.
Our label partner currently provides us with a 100% post-consumer label printed with UV-cured inks on a micro-liner, recyclable backer. We consider this one of the most sustainable options at a real-world price point. Certified compostable labels (which you can make as big as you want!) are getting there, but we’ve found they’re still out of a realistic price range for most of our customers. We’re expecting more development in this area in the very near future.
Is my packaging compliant with upcoming regulations?
Packaging regulations continue to be on the rise, and plastic packaging is a hot topic for many of them. Every year, it seems more regulations are coming into effect, both regionally and nationally. Your business cannot turn a blind eye to these developments, but it can all seem very overwhelming and complicated!
We try to break these regulations into two distinct categories to help simplify the discussion, both of which provide options for you to be able to choose a material and design that works for your products.
The first category of regulations is focused on reducing the use of fossil fuels in packaging and has a goal to increase the use of renewable and/or recycled materials. Where businesses are impacted by these regulations, the optimal choice of material will provide the highest level of bio-based and/or recycled content.
In the second category of regulations, the end-of-life processing of the packaging is the highest concern, and materials with less complex construction and easier curbside recyclability are often preferable. In these cases, options like curbside recyclable Bio-PET and compostable PLA can meet the requirements for a specific end-of-life option, while also using less fossil fuel. We are also seeing certain regulations prioritize commercially compostable materials in regions where appropriate composting facilities exist and the packaging is expected to be mixed with food waste
To stay up-to-date on packaging regulations in your area we recommend visiting: Packaging Dive Packaging Policy Tracker. If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our packaging specialists!
Are your products impacted by bans on single-use plastics?
There are currently no federal laws banning single use plastics in the United States. However, circumstances are changing rapidly with Canada having enacted certain bans on single-use products that beginning in December 2022, which has since been contested in Supreme Court. Individual cities and states have also taken action to introduce legislation specifically aimed at banning specific plastic products. In most, but not all, jurisdictions that have implemented plastics regulations, certified compostable materials like PLA have been considered a suitable alternative to traditional single-use plastics.
Why choose a tamper-evident container?
Look no further than our tamper-evident packaging to build brand loyalty and gain customer trust! With tamper-evident protection that clearly shows when someone's been meddling with your goods, your customers will have peace of mind knowing their food is safe to eat (because you made sure of it). And with all the extra handling during shipping, you'll be glad you invested in our tamper-evident design that keeps your yummy food all sealed up and safe. So go ahead, stop worrying about food safety and start focusing on what really matters - making delicious food that keeps 'em coming back for seconds.
What is special about GoodGuard™ tamper-evident packaging?
Oh boy, have we got a packaging solution for you! Our GoodGuard™ patent pending dual-hinged tamper-evident packaging will keep your product safe and secure while fighting off the forces of evil (AKA food stealers). Fully equipped with our dual-hinged protection, locking tab and leak-resistant perimeter seal, you will have a clear signal if anyone tries to mess with your munchies on route to your customer. Plus, unlike other tamper-evident packaging that create additional microplastics that will haunt our planet for eternity, our locking tab is tearaway strip-free! So not only are you saving your product, but you're also saving the environment - talk about a win-win situation!
Why don’t you say your containers are tamper-proof?
Though we have great confidence in our packaging, we can't promise that our tamper-evident containers are 100% tamper-proof and will stop every sneaky food thief out there. Think of it like a superhero for your food - it might not stop all the bad guys, but it'll definitely make them think twice before trying anything funny.
Are plant-based plastics as durable and perform as well as petroleum plastics?
If you’re talking about whether Bio-PET or Bio-HDPE or Bio-LDPE work just like their petroleum-based counterparts, the answer is 100% yes. They are chemically identical, but just start from a different set of raw materials – sort of like whether you choose to bake with “regular” flour or “organic” flour. They’re both flour and can be used in exactly the same way.
It’s a little bit different if we’re talking about whether a material like PLA is as durable and performs the same as #1 PET. Now we’re talking about choosing to bake with “gluten-free” flour or “regular” flour, and there are certainly some differences. What’s most important is to consider the packing, storage and transportation needs of your product, along with what end-of-life options are best for you and your customers. Depending on these factors, there may not be a noticeable difference between a material like PET or PLA in your use case. Don’t worry! We’re specialists in helping you navigate these choices!
There’s also lots of exciting new developments on the bio-based front to push the performance boundaries even more. Take our GoodToGo™ Microwavable take-out containers made from CPLA that are able to withstand temperatures of up to 100°C and are a viable replacement for some petroleum equivalents made from polypropylene that are not yet readily recyclable in many markets.
Do earth-friendly packaging options cost more than traditional plastics?
It doesn’t have to. Cost is a combination of the materials, design, manufacturing processes, and distribution. On a pound-for-pound basis, PLA and Bio-PET materials cost more than many fossil fuel-based options.
However, our approach to combining the best materials, optimized designs for shipping efficiencies and our own North American manufacturing means our product and packaging programs are often cost neutral to traditional plastics and sometimes less than post-consumer recycled petroleum-based (PCR) options.
Is your packaging microwave and oven safe?
You’re going to end up with a melty mess if you put any packaging in a conventional oven unless that packaging is marked as “oven safe” (although our melty mess will be free of BPAs, phthalates and other chemicals of concern, unlike some of the traditional stuff 😉 ). We don’t recommend heating our regular PLA packaging beyond 45°C (113°F) and Bio-PET packaging beyond 65°C (130°F).
Ready to heat things up? Our GoodToGo™ Microwavable take-out containers are made from crystallized PLA has been specifically formulated and tested to withstand temperatures in a residential microwave (1300 Watt) for at least 5 cycles of 2 minutes each. This BPI certified compostable collection is suitable for re-heating food in the microwave, but is not oven- safe. If you are ever in doubt, please check the bottom of your container for a microwave-safe symbol or drop us a line if you need clarification.
Can I put your packaging in the freezer? What do you mean by “freezer friendly”?
Want to hear some cool news? Our thermoformed and rigid plant-based packaging is suitable for frozen food applications in residential and commercial freezers at temperatures deemed freezer-safe by the FDA, meaning -18°C (0°F). When you see the “freezer friendly” icon on any of our products, it means it’s met this standard.Many of our super durable and rigid food containers are specifically designed with a tight-fit lid to help prevent air and moisture from entering or escaping, thereby adding to the length of preservation of the frozen contents inside.
Knowing freezer and freezing conditions can vary significantly, we always recommend testing our packaging beforehand to determine if it’s a good fit for your specific freezer application (especially if you're stacking them high!). Rigid packaging can become brittle and crack if not handled with care, regardless of the material used to make it.
Cool tip(s):Avoid a chilly mess and make sure to leave a little overhead space when filling to account for water expansion when your product freezes! Also, if you're packing a warm/hot food, it's best to let it cool down before poppin' it in the freezer.
Chat with one of our (super cool) packaging specialists to learn more.
How are your products going to help me meet my company’s sustainability goals?
There are many ways we can help you meet your eco-friendly objectives:
- Our products and packaging are made without any chemicals of concern. If you’re focused on reducing potentially hazardous chemicals in everyday life, our plant-based products and packaging can make an impact.
- If you’re increasing your use of renewables (or kicking fossil fuels to the curb, as we like to say!), our products and packaging all include renewable plant-based content.
- Our material formulations can include up to 50% recycled content. This is mostly post-industrial recycled material that comes from our own manufacturing processes. For those of you focused on PCR rates, we do have a Bio-PET formulation that contains up to 33% PCR.
- Our 99% plant-based PLA material is produced using less energy, meaning you may benefit from an immediate reduction in CO2 emissions. Full disclosure – specific CO2 reductions have to be confirmed through custom life cycle assessments that take into account your current processes and transportation network.
- Through updated designs and/or downgauging, you can reduce the amount of material being used in your products and packaging. And if you switch to compostable PLA, you’ll benefit by using a material that results in products and packaging that are typically about 10% lighter than their PET counterparts. Cue the transportation savings! 🕺🏻
How can I communicate my positive sustainability programs to my customers?
In our 15 years in the sustainable materials space, we’ve learned a lot about what does (and doesn’t!) resonate with consumers when it comes to sustainability messaging. Suffice to say, there’s a lot of muddy waters out there, so less is more. And unbiased is best!
Our products always list the amount of plant-based content included. This simple percentage says a lot in a straight forward way and can be combined with your use of recycled materials to show your total impact.
We include at least one independent certification on our products or packaging information to provide our customers confidence that we’re not making things up! This is an important factor so consumers can trust that it’s not just “greenwashing”.
We’re happy to provide you with marketing material and collateral to help communicate the benefits ofgood natured® products and packaging, so please let us know if you’re interested.
Can you make a package to fit my specific product needs?
We sure can! We’ve got lots of options, so sometimes all you need is a bit of help to navigate which of our ready-to-wear designs are right for you. If it’s still pulling and tugging in all the wrong places, the perfect fit is still possible! Our custom packaging solutions combine expertly engineered designs that blend function and form to ensure all your food products fit juuuuuuust right.
Check out our custom thermoforming page to learn more about how we can collaborate with you to create the perfect result.
Should my containers be the exact same colour each time I order?
Our products come from nature, so naturally that comes with a bit of variation. You might see slight colour or texture differences between orders, but these will not impact the rock-star performance guaranteed in every case.
How do I place an order?
Ordering online from good natured® is fast and easy… and you can do it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If the product you’re looking for isn’t available in our online store, just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org - we’d be happy to help you get your hands on it!
What If I want to place a volume or wholesale order?
For volume and wholesale orders, please give us a call on 1-877-286-0617.
What if a product is out of stock?
If the product you’re interested in is out of stock, please send us a note at email@example.com or call 1-877-286-0617. We’ll be able to let you know when the item will be back in stock or suggest something else that may work.
What payment methods can I use?
We accept all major credit cards including Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express, as well as PayPal. We can also accept Apple Pay, Google Pay and Shop Pay (along with their interest free Shop Pay Installments).
Will I get an order confirmation when I complete my purchase?
Once you’ve placed your order, you’ll receive a confirmation email shortly after. We’ll also send you emails when your order has shipped, when it’s about to be delivered and when it arrives. If you don’t receive an order confirmation email, check your “junk” folder as it may be in there. If you still don’t see it, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make sure you get it.
Will I have to pay duties or taxes on my order?
The vast majority of our products are produced in the US and Canada, which are covered by North America trade agreements. We also warehouse locally, so your purchases will not be subject to additional duties if being shipped to either the US or Canada.Products that are considered essential goods, such as packaging for food products, and certain other business supplies are often exempt from state or provincial sales taxes. Sorry, Canada, but Goods & Services taxes show up on everything!The rules around taxes for goods being shipped across states or provinces are evolving very quickly. If you have questions about a specific product category or how these rules will apply based on where you live or do business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch so we can verify whether taxes will be applicable on your purchase.
When will my credit card be charged?
We will authorize your purchase on your credit card at the time you place your order.
Can I cancel or modify my order?
Yes, you can. You can cancel or modify your order at any time before it’s shipped. Log in to your good natured® account or use the link in your order confirmation email to manage your order.
Where can I find my order number?
You can find your order number at the top of your order summary in your good natured® account or at the top of your order confirmation email.
Why was my order cancelled?
We never cancel an order unless you ask us to or we aren’t able to fulfill it. It may be that your shipping or billing information was incorrect or some information in your order is incomplete. We’ll send you a notification with details on why your order was cancelled and to see if there’s anything we can do to help.
Can I receive a sample of your packaging before purchasing a case?
It’s gotta fit, right? We’re happy to send over a pack of samples and just ask that you cover the cost of shipping. Please get in touch so we can confirm with you which samples would be most appropriate.
Why do I have to request a quote for some of your products and cannot add to cart?
Products on our website listed as 'Request a Quote' are special order items that we do not have available inventory of. It doesn’t mean we will not have these items available in the future, but for now they aren’t immediately available. Although you can’t add to cart right away, we can definitely make this item for you if you are willing to commit to a large enough order.
The minimum order quantity is around 1 pallet (as a general rule this is between 20-30 cases depending on the product). You don’t need to take all the cases at once, we just need a commitment from you that you’d be purchasing the minimum quantity.
If you are interested in exploring this, please Request a Quote by visiting the product page and we will be in touch to discuss pricing and timelines with you further. If you're not quite ready to commit to a small mountain of packaging, let us know and we'd be happy to recommend some options from our in stock assortment.
What are my shipping and delivery options?
Standard shipping is included on all orders, and you can expect your order to arrive in 7-10 business days from the time you place your order. If you need it to arrive more urgently, we also offer an Expedited Shipping service which will arrive in 2-5 business days after you receive your order confirmation.
Rates for Expedited Shipping, which will vary depending on order size and delivery location, will be displayed in your shopping cart and charged to you during checkout.
What If I am outside of the US or Canada? Do you ship internationally?
If you’re outside of the US or Canada, please send us a note at email@example.com or give us a call on 1-877-286-0617 and we can discuss the available shipping options.
Can I ship to a PO Box?
We use FedEx for most deliveries, and they do not deliver to PO Boxes. If we have any issues with your shipment, we’ll get in touch to discuss and you’ll have an opportunity to cancel your order if we can’t accommodate shipping.
How do I track my order?
We will send you a notification when your order ships, when it’s on its way to you and when it arrives. In between these notifications, you can always track your order and delivery timing by clicking on the links in your shipment emails or by accessing your good natured® account.
What if my order is damaged?
Our return and exchange policy for home and office products lasts 30 days from the date of purchase. If more than 30 days have gone by since your purchase, unfortunately we can’t offer you a refund or exchange, so please make sure to let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org right away if your order is damaged.
For non-refundable goods, and more specifically packaging, we provide you with 48 hours after delivery to send us any applicable evidence of discrepancies in quantity, incorrect goods or damage to your order to email@example.com. In this case, we’ll remediate the discrepancy by replacing the goods or applying a credit to your method of payment. Except as outlined above, all packaging sales are made on a one-way basis and are not returnable or refundable.
My tracking information says my order was delivered, but I haven’t received it. What do I do?
We’re sorry your order hasn’t found its way all the way home yet! When the tracking information says that the package has been delivered, it means that it has been delivered to the shipping address provided when you checked out. You can try the following options to try to locate it:
- Double-check the shipping address you provided for your order to make sure it was correct.
- Check with your household members, colleagues or neighbours at that address in case someone else picked it up for you.
- Check with the security guard, mailroom or front desk.
- Contact your local post office to see if they are holding the package for you.
- Wait 24 – 48 hours for your package to arrive—on rare occasions, the carrier may mark the package as being delivered earlier than it actually is.
If you’re still not able to locate your package, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org with your order number and we’ll be happy to help.
What if I’m not present to receive my shipment?
Depending on the shipping provider, they may try to re-deliver on the next business day or they may send your shipment to a local pick-up point. Some carriers will also let you change the delivery address – you can access this option by clicking on the tracking number in your shipment emails and/or your account order detail page.
What happens if my order was returned to sender?
We might already be aware of this and be getting in touch, but please send us a note at email@example.com right away so we can get this resolved.
Where are you located?
Our corporate office is in Vancouver, BC, plus we have manufacturing facilities and warehousing capabilities across North America.
Is there a minimum amount I have to spend to receive free shipping?
Our prices listed online include standard shipping to the contiguous US and Canadian street addresses (sorry, most couriers don’t accept PO boxes). For more information on our shipping policies pleaseclick here.
Returns & Exchanges
I’ve changed my mind about my purchase. How can I return or exchange it?
Our return and exchange policy for home and office products lasts 30 days from the date of purchase. If more than 30 days have gone by since your purchase, unfortunately we can’t offer you a refund or exchange.
Except if damaged, all packaging sales are made on a one-way basis and are not returnable or refundable.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org before returning any shipment to us. In some cases, we do not require items to be physically returned to us to be eligible for refund.
When will I receive my refund for my returned product?
If your order is eligible for a refund, we’ll process that back to your original method of payment. Keep in mind it may take several weeks or up to 2 billing cycles for the refund to appear on your statement.
Do you refund shipping charges?
We do not refund shipping charges.
For more information about our return policy, please click here.