What’s the difference between compostable, biodegradable and recyclable packaging?

“Recycling is the process of converting used materials into something new, keeping products away from landfill. However, there are limits to how many times some materials can be recycled. For example, standard plastics and paper can usually be recycled only a few times before they become unusable, whereas others such as glass, metal and aluminum can be recycled endlessly. Switching to a reusable packaging solution is another way to recycle and keep products in circulation for longer. Low density polyethylene (LDPE) is the most commonly recycled flexible material in the UK.”

“Compostable products are made from natural materials such as starch and decompose fully into “compost” without producing toxic residue as they break down. To be classified as compostable products must meet specific requirements defined in The European Standard EN 13432. Did you know there are two types of compostable? Home and Industrial. Home compostable is when materials can be composted at home in a domestic compost bin. This is a slow process and take around one year to compost at temperatures of 20-30°C. Industrial compostable is composted at a larger scale to higher temperatures of 58°C, reducing compost time. ”

“When something is biodegradable, it means that it can be broken down naturally by microorganism under certain conditions. A lot of products will break down naturally, meaning they are technically biodegradable but some may take many years to do so. Even natural products such as a banana skin can take between 1-3 years to biodegrade when thrown away. Similarly, packaging products such as biodegradable plastic bags require specific conditions to break down properly. Those materials that break down into smaller pieces take time to dissolve and can still be harmful to the environment. ”

Why offer recyclable packaging?

According to Global Web Index, 64% of consumers identified recyclable packaging as an environmentally friendly solution.

By using recyclable packaging, we’re able to keep providing you with quality product. We’ve ensured that our new LDPE material includes high barrier properties, so shelf-life isn’t compromised.

Why change to recyclable packaging?

As we move towards a more sustainable future we feel recyclable coffee packaging will reduce the use of single use plastics within the UK. By recycling rather than disposing of plastics, we can all help to reduce waste and save on raw materials, thereby cutting greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to a greener, cleaner planet.

Many brands have signed up to the UK Plastic Pact (WRAP), which works alongside the UK Government and NGOs. The pact states that by 2025 100% of plastic packaging is to be reusable, recyclable or compostable, aligning with our very own CSR target to remove all single-use plastics within the business by 2024. 

What is it made from?

Our recyclable films are made mostly of LDPE including a LDPE recyclable valve. Our cardboard cases are also suitable for recycling.

What does the No.4 logo mean?

The no. 4 recycling symbol applies to Low Density Polyethylene materials. LDPE is used to make thin, flexible products like plastic bags for dry-cleaning, newspapers, bread, frozen foods, and fresh produce.

How do I recycle LDPE / no.4 packaging?

Our recyclable coffee film should be recycled at supermarkets with bags. This means that most of you / your customers can recycle the same way as you would with plastic bags. Please check with your local council for your nearest recycling facility. 

More information can be found at WRAP UK website. 

Is recyclable film still recyclable if I use a label?

Yes, the film is still recyclable and we do have some recyclable label options. If you choose to use a "traditional label", the label will need to be removed before recycling. If a label is used, the pack must state ‘remove label to recycle’.

How does this affect the shelf life and freshness of coffee?

Our recyclable films are suitable for roasted coffee products with 12 months shelf life as per our standard film. Once the packs are opened the product must be stored in a cool, dry place away from strong odours and used within 14 days.

What does OPRL mean?

Being a member of OPRL (On-Pack Labelling Scheme) provides advice on how to recycle packaging and the permissions to use On-Pack Recycling Labels. Each of their labels delivers a simple, UK wide, consistent recycling message for use on both retailer private label and brand-owner packaging for each packaging component.

For more information or to sign up as a member to use such labels visit the OPRL website.

To find out more about our recycling packaging, please get in touch. To read more about our environmental efforts, visit our CSR commitment page.