Does EcoCraft® packaging cost more than bleached packaging?
EcoCraft® packaging is competitive with bleached packaging. One of the key reasons for the rapid growth of our EcoCraft® flexible foodservice packaging brand is our insistence that these products be developed with a focus on economic sustainability. Economic sustainability is one of the three basic foundations of the “Triple bottom line” approach. To make a significant impact on reducing the waste of raw materials, we must keep our EcoCraft® products affordable so they can be purchased in higher volumes. This practical approach also allows us to consult more consumers and businesses on the fundamentals of sustainable packaging. The rapid brand growth and positive environmental impact helps us spread the momentum of change so that more food service businesses will understand the benefits of taking simple steps with their packaging on their journey toward a sustainable future.
Is paper compostable? Are EcoCraft® products compostable?
Yes, in most cases paper is compostable because it is made from the cellulose fibers of a tree or other natural fiber source. We were the first flexible foodservice packaging company to have our environmentally improved product line certified by Cedar Grove composting in the Northwest in 2007. Our Cedar Grove certified products are listed on the their website. (http://www.cedar-grove.com/acceptable/Accepted%20List.asp). We update the information as more products are accepted by Cedar Grove. Lightweight food grade paper is compostable in most cases. Industrial composting is an excellent waste stream choice for food grade flexible packaging. We support the expansion of the composting waste stream so that we can all drive more of our paper based packaging into this end of life scenario. BagcraftPapercon’s parent company is Packaging Dynamics, and we are both members of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. We supported and participated in the recent project by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition to study the “local realities” of compostable waste streams. You can review the study titled “Compostable Packaging: The reality on the ground” on the S.P.C. website. (http://www.sustainablepackaging.org/projects/?project=Projects)
Can you use post consumer waste recycled pulp content in your EcoCraft® foodservice packaging?
We are carefully pursuing this option. Our largest concern is based on public safety due to the concerns over the direct contact of fresh consumable food with post consumer waste recycled paper. The Food & Drug Administration does allow some post consumer recycled waste to be used in flexible paper food packaging but it must be carefully screened and compliant with their strict guidelines for purity and sourcing. One of our current concerns is the functionality of PCW paper in foodservice applications that require grease and moisture barriers. We continue to lobby suppliers for improvements to the quality, functionality and availability of unbleached FDA “direct food contact” compliant paper. Early in 2010 we started the process of trialing a new generation of food grade PCW natural paper to test it against our high standards of safety, functionality, quality, and affordability. We are making strides in our journey of improvement and we hope to introduce EcoCraft® PCW recycled packages in 2011.
Can you recycle paper based food packaging?
The answer really depends on the waste sorting abilities of the local recycling company in your area. Used flexible packaging that has food build up or stains is often sorted out of the recycling waste stream. There are a few local companies that have alternative waste streams set up for fiber based packaging to divert it away from the landfill into alternative waste streams. Waxed paper or paperboard is rarely accepted by sorting plants that feed the recycling waste stream. In the future, industrial recyclers will expand their sorting capabilities and technologies to process more materials than they do today. Until those changes happen we can still make an impact by focusing our sustainable improvement efforts on the raw material at the beginning of a package’s life cycle. We see a promising future in converting recycled post consumer waste paper that is made from the corrugated box waste stream. This natural unbleached recycled paper helps close the loop and allows us to expand our sustainable impact.