Is compostable packaging really compostable?

Is compostable packaging really compostable?

One of our goals at Kōv is to reduce single-use plastics. To accomplish this, we knew we needed a refill program. And we were happy to find a certified compostable pouch for our refills. But we’ve learned about a challenge that’s changing how we do things.


We’re excited to share our solution with you, but first, let’s talk about why we think these pouches are a better alternative to single-use petroleum-based plastics and the challenge at hand.


Our refill pouches are made from wood cellulose and are certified ASTM D6400 compostable. Through the composting process, microorganisms break them down into carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds and biomass at the same rate as other organic materials in the compost pile, leaving no toxic residue. Pretty neat!


Now here’s the challenge— not all municipalities have the infrastructure to accept compostable packaging. So, when you throw that compostable takeout container in the compost, it actually gets sorted out and thrown in the landfill. We see this as a challenge and an opportunity.


As governments ban single-use plastics, compostable and biodegradable alternatives are popping up everywhere.  For example, that compostable fork from the food truck you grabbed your lunch from. That food truck likely paid more for it than a petroleum-based option thinking they were doing something positive for the environment. But what we’ve learned is that there are no end-of-life plans for these materials. And that compostable fork up in the same place as the cheaper plastic version—the landfill.


So, here’s where the solution comes in! We want your empty refill pouch back and we are going to compost it. Starting today, when you order a refill pouch from us, you will have the option to include a postage-paid return envelope.


If you know that your municipality accepts compostable packaging, great! No need to return it to us. But if you live in Vancouver like we do, you may be surprised to learn that the City does not accept compostable packaging, only food waste and yard trimmings.


When we learned about this, we contacted the City of Vancouver with some questions since they are the body that handles our municipal waste. And we learned that the planning around compostable and biodegradable packaging is happening at the provincial and federal level with no immediate plan for action. So, we’re going to compost, and we’re excited to close the loop with you!