‘Compostable’ Plastic Doesn’t Work Well Enough For Us

With global plastic use and its waste on the rise, MaCher has set a goal to cut all virgin and single-use plastics from our business by 2025.

Cutting plastics from shipping isn’t as easy as we would like. Believe it or not, cutting it from our products is actually far easier than cutting from our shipping processes. 

The challenge of keeping products clean on their journey

We need to keep products clean on their journey from the factory to the client. The default approach in our industry is to put individual products in a plastic (or ‘poly’) bag.

At MaCher, our default is to always pack in bulk and to use recycled polybags. We know that recycled plastic is still plastic of course, so we’re also experimenting with alternatives such as recycled paper.

We’re not ready yet for compostable plastic

One direction that we are not heading down just yet however is using ‘compostable’ plastic.

Compostable plastics are made from renewable resources instead of fossil fuels. Recent research shows that there are a number of issues with their use. They are more expensive and often more energy intensive to make but as they were invented for food systems rather than products, they don’t always suit the non-food market.

They also might not easily break down into compost. Current compostable plastics need very controlled conditions to break down. Without these specific conditions (that are far from being part of standard recycling facilities) compostable plastic will behave just like regular plastic. This means that they won’t break down for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. The chemicals they are created with could also leak into the soils, rivers and oceans.

Future options

There is a lot of investment in this area and we’ll continue to keep our eye on new materials. Over the months ahead, you may see us trialling different approaches to packing including recycled paper. We’d love your feedback.


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