According to a report on Greener Packaging, the survey interviewed 40 composting facilities on the effects of compostable consumer packaging. The sector has received a significant boost since Frito-Lay introduced its 100 percent compostable potato chip bag last year. Since then, Green Planet, Dell and Cereplast have all announced new compostable packaging. According to a Pike Research study last year, compostable packaging is expected to grab 32 percent of the market by 2014.
Pactiv, the makers of Hefty garbage bags, recently introduced the first compostable meat tray. The tray is being used by grocery stores in Seattle in order to comply with a new city-wide ban on the use of Styrofoam in stores and restaurants, which goes into effect July 1. The new tray is a bioplastic made from corn, and will be used by local Seattle supermarket chain Metropolitan Market. The new Seattle law is expected to reduce landfill waste by 6,000 tons a year.
The survey found that 72.5 percent of respondents said accepting compostable packaging allowed them to increase their overall rate of food waste tonnage, due to increased hauling efficiencies. Ninety percent of respondents said that they accept compostable packaging. Those that do not cited difficulty in certifying whether material was compostable, longer composting times and fear of contamination from regular plastics as their reasons.
The survey also found that a large majority, 82.5 percent, said that standardized labeling of compostable materials was the most significant area of potential improvement, with responders saying they would be more likely to accept compostable packaging if it were more clearly labeled.