Plastic Recycling is Broken. Here's how we plan to fix it.
We have recently launched The Full Package with We Compost, the first city-wide compost collection of its kind in New Zealand. Together we have teamed up with 50 cafes across the Auckland CBD to produce the first public compost collection for both food waste and compostable packaging.
Plastic production has increased twentyfold since 1964 yet just 5% of plastics are recycled effectively.
The most viable solution for single-use disposable packaging is a full cycle, organic recycling solution. Plant-based packaging waste can integrate into the organic waste system and be utilised as compost for the next generation of plants. Composting our packaging along with our food waste is an idea that has real opportunity to divert our waste away from landfill. We aim to implement such a method in the mainstream market.
Keep your eye out for our bins across Auckland CBD.
Composting, the ultimate Recycling
All life on this planet is made out of the same naturally occurring molecules, composting recycles these molecules. We break it all down so we can build it back up. We make it then we unmake it.
Compost is an environment with enough oxygen, water and light to allow microbes to decompose organic material, the healthier the compost the more microbes and the more heat they can produce. Innocent Packaging has certified all of our products as commercially compostable because in commercial facilities we can guarantee at least 60 degree heat and therefore swift decomposition within 12 weeks.
Heat is particularly pertinent for composting PLA. Plant plastics are long chains of repeating molecules and the heat breaks the bonds of these chains, giving us bite sizes chunks that are able to be decomposed by microbes.
Any healthy hot compost will allow all of our products to break down fully and our bleach and toxin free paper, wheatstraw and sugar cane products are a fantastic source of brown matter for your home compost too.
We can build anything
The products of compost: Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen make up 99% of all organic molecules - the building blocks of all life. Will your salad container be repurposed into cos lettuce? Forget the rigidity of classic recycling, composting is part of the infinite, circular, cycle of natural life.
More coffee cups were composted in New Zealand last year than has ever been recycled.
Unfortunately recycling has never been a solution for disposable food packaging. To be recycled the product has be uncontaminated by food - and it is not so easy getting all the tomato sauce off your chip cup.
Also, products with two different materials closely bonded are extremely difficult to recycle - hello plastic lined paper coffee cups. To start, the two materials would need to be separated, a task currently beyond the scope of recycling. Recycling works very well for your cans, paper and glass but single use plastics and disposable food packages wreak havoc on the industry.
Currently the best solution for food packaging is to make sure it is compostable, and our very young industry in NZ has already composted far more disposable food packaging than has ever been recycled.
We have to get food waste out of landfill
Beyond packaging, one of the greatest failures of current waste management is that most of our food waste still ends up in landfill. Any organic material in landfill cannot break down properly as there is no oxygen or light. The partial and slow decomposition that can occur in landfill will release methane, a major contributor to climate change.
Landfill is a double edged sword, it is a complete waste of reusable organic molecules and it delivers toxic environmental outcomes. Innocent is absolutely committed to helping the compost industry develop and divert all compostable material into compost facilities nationwide. We have just launched a Full Package Collection in collaboration with We Compost to show that closing the loop is possible and relatively simple. This is the first city-wide compost collection of its kind in New Zealand. We dream of curbside collection and of all of our products completing the circular economies model; plants, products, compost, repeat.
COMMERCIAL COMPOSTING FACILITIES
We work with the following 11 commercial compost sites across NZ to divert our packaging away from landfill: