Disclaimer, Product Liability Statement
Green Pack issue the following statement about claims of compostability and biodegradability of their products:
Green Pack source products from manufacturers who we trust work in accordance to international standards and regulations. Raw materials are sourced from suppliers who provide evidence of the suitability for the intended purpose, which is mainly the direct and or indirect contact with food. Our personal aim is that the products we sell cause minimum harm to the environment. This can be displayed in different ways, and could be through savings of energy or raw materials during manufacture, or through alternative forms of disposal like composting and minimisation of residues after disposal.
We see claims of compostablility advertised by many suppliers, and acknowledge that there may be a marketing advantage by advertising a product as beeing compostable. At Green Pack we believe that there are a number of other factors which can make a product more eco-friendly than others and compostability is only one of these factors. Greater part of disposable products still end up in landfill and never make it to a composting facility. In this case it would be better to reduce the amount of waste created in the first place.
Green Pack uses a low profile approach to these claims and does not promise that a customer will "save the world" by purchasing a disposbale product. Instead we like to tell our clients as much as we can about our products without making promises. We call this a "No Frills" approach.
Many of our products will therefore not claim to be "compostable", even though they are made with materials which have been certified to be compostable. Many of these certifications have been made with different material thicknesses than the one used in the final product. Also the conditions during composting can vary a lot and not many people can achieve the composting results which are claimed by the manufacturers "commercial composting facilities". This can render claims about compostability of many products into "Green Wash".
PSM products (in particular PSM based cutlery):
PSM also known as Plant Starch Material has been awarded the “OK Compost” Conformity Mark by AIB Vincotte International, Brussels. Report dated June 2007. Degradability trials have been conducted on sheet material of 0.2mm thickness.
Criteria used: EN 13432.
These tests were initiated by the manufacturer of PSM raw material.
Green Pack is in possession of these reports and also reports showing the product is complying with FDA standards as well as passing tests for heavy metals and other nasties that we don't want anywhere near our food utensils. We also have reports showing that no genetically modified starch has been found in the raw material.
As the public is probably aware, test reports are usually taken from a small sample batch and tests can be several years old.
At no point were official composting trials conducted on any of our PSM based finished products.
Furthermore Green Pack does not claim these products to be compostable or suitable for home composting.
The latest version of PSM cutlery as of 20. September 2010 is made from HL 103 PSM and does contain 12% plastic. This was necessary for the manufacturing process. We are therefore not recommending these products for composting.
The fact that the raw material is made from annually renewable resources and uses less energy to produce than conventional plastics still classifies this as a sustainable product for us, however we would like to see the product improved without the plastic content.
Further research is needed to proof long term bio-degradability under landfill conditions and the environmental effect of widespread use of starch based polymers such as PSM and PLA.
The introduction of sustainable packaging products is still in its infant stage no matter how often the words "bio", "sustainable" and "natural" are used in relation with the slogan that you may "save the world" by buying someones products.
The introduction of new degradable materials has started and by buying "sustainable products the consumer assists the process of making sustainability more mainstream and affordable for everybody!
Long term this may help the environment, short term it is also a way to show to your customer "You care!