Due to the need for companies to consider more environmentally-friendly alternatives to plastic many have turned to compostable packaging for their products.
Unfortunately a lot of this packaging is only commercially compostable meaning that it won’t break down in our home compost systems (our laundry bags do – you just need to remove the label first), and can’t be recycled with soft plastics.
You also can’t put it in council kerbside food waste collections or privately provided greenwaste collection bins. So what do we do with it?
Where can commercially compostable packaging and serviceware be processed in New Zealand?
Most compostable coffee cups and packaging can only be composted in commercial composting facilities. This is because the compost pile needs to reach a temperature of 55 degrees or higher to break down these items, which almost all home composting systems don’t achieve.
There are twelve industrial facilities in New Zealand and three community facilities that currently accept compostable packaging. Compostable packaging is not accepted in council kerbside food waste collections or privately provided greenwaste collection bins. In most cases, a waste company must be used to collect and transport compostable packaging to a composting facility.
Click here for WasteMINZ list of these facilities, the compostable packaging they accept, and the waste companies that can be used to deliver packaging to the facility. This list is accurate as of March 2021.
To find out why some facilities cannot accept compostable packaging and about different acceptance criterion among facilities please click here.
You can also sign up to Compost Connect and they will collect your compostable packaging and food waste and compost if for you. This service is available for businesses and individuals, check their website for your area