What are recyclable, biodegradable and compostable packaging products?

Just about all takeaway products are recyclable, however only some products are biodegradable and compostable.

Recyclable means the packaging could be recycled if the material is clean and not contaminated with greases and oils, and the local council/waste management contractor has processes in place to actually recycle the material. We recycle very few plastics in Canada and it is now becoming more difficult to sell our recovered plastics overseas, with importers now placing huge reductions on the amount of plastics allowed in their processing lines.

Biodegradable means that the material will breakdown (degrade) faster by undertaking specific biological processes. “Bio” means that living organisms will increase the degradation of a material. Biodegradable materials are not always compostable, as some biodegradable plastics are still petroleum-based plastics and take hundreds of years to degrade. Making petroleum-based plastics biodegradable does not make them a Valuecart option, it simply speeds up the decay and the plastic molecules just become smaller (and more dangerous) sooner than later. Petroleum-based plastics should be recycled and not designed to biodegrade.

Compostable means that the material is made of organic matter, it will naturally biodegrade, and, in the right conditions, it can be converted into compost. The length of time it takes for an organic material to breakdown depends on the conditions in place (temperature, moisture, air, pressure) and the material. This is all very difficult to accurately ascertain as the conditions vary so much. All plant-based products are biodegradable and breakdown can take a few weeks to a few months.

ValueCart products are biodegradable and compostable. This is because they are plant-based (Sugarcane/Bagasse) so they naturally break down and can become compost in the right conditions. This means that the remaining matter is suitable for use as compost (fertilizer) and safe to become part of the soil system.

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