the story

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn - Black Circle
  • Twitter

Compostable means that a product is capable of

disintegrating into natural elements in a compost

environment, leaving no toxicity in the soil. This

typically must occur in about 90 days.


Plastic pollution is everywhere, we know the issues

and the statistics. More and more people are

choosing to buy reusable but even with this major

shift to reusables, some disposables will always be

needed. This is where compostables step in.

The Food

service issue

Combining plastic and card in food service

packaging creates massive recycling

challenges. Food contamination is inevitable,

so the result is incineration or landfill.

For disposables destined for serving food,

it makes sense to use materials that can be

recycled together with food. With compostable

disposables, food isn’t contamination, it’s a vital

ingredient in the composting process.

Compostable disposables are designed to be

recycled in an industrial composting facility

together with food waste. That means there’s no

need for sorting, and the compostable cup, lid,

burger box, knife and napkin can all go together

without removing the ketchup and leftover

chips. An extra bonus is that once food and

disposables share one bin, other dry recycling

bins are cleaner and easier to recycle.

Plants not plastic

Sustainable Africa provides packaging solutions that

are made from plants not plastic. We call this our

Renewable and Compostable range

and these are some of the ingredients that we use:

PLA is a compostable material made from

plants, it looks and feels like traditional plastic,

but is compostable in commercial composting

facilities. PLA replaces the plastic in coffee cup

linings or sandwich windows, and it’s the clear

material in our cold cups and deli containers.

Our hot cup lids and cutlery are made of a

high-heat version of PLA.

Recycled Sugarcane Fibre is another

practical material we use for our clamshells,

plates and bowls. Known as bagasse, it

performs really well, keeping heat in but not

trapping condensation. Plus, it’s renewable, a

recycled by-product of the sugar industry.

Sugarcane and Bamboo Blend – mix of bagasse and bamboo fiber.

So what are the advantages

to going compostable?

During production

Renewable materials

The earth has finite resources. Disposables are used

for such a short time, so it makes sense to switch to

renewable materials, reserving conventional plastics

for applications where they can’t be easily replaced.

Compostable bioplastics are made from renewable

resources such as corn and sugarcane rather than crude oil and natural gas, used in traditional plastics, both of which are finite resources.

BP’s estimates put the remaining oil supplies

at about 50 years. Although, if we are to hit our

carbon budget it is estimated that we need to leave between 75-80% of these reserves untouched.

Post production

It’s not here to stay

Compostable means that packaging can

completely break down in under 12 weeks in commercial composting conditions. This means we are able to give back mineral rich

compost that replenishes the fertility of our soil. PLA can also be recycled giving an extended life to polymers before they

are composted.

Better energy generation

Incineration studies from NatureWorks

3, show that their PLA bioplastic produces more heat than newspaper, wood or food

waste; also that it produces no volatile gases and leaves little residue.

Reduced greenhouse gases

Carbon footprint

In landfill, studies have shown that compostable packaging is inert and does not give off methane 4. PLA bioplastic gives

off 75% lower greenhouse gas emissions

than PET, even if both end up in landfill.


Bioplastic offers a significantly reduced carbon footprint versus traditional oil-based plastics. This is because the plants used to make the bioplastic absorb as much CO

2 as they release. Traditional plastic on the other hand releases CO2 that would otherwise have been trapped underground in the crude oil.

A 2017 study determined that switching from

traditional plastic to corn-based PLA would cut

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent. 1

Less toxicity

Bioplastic is also less toxic and does not contain bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone disrupter that is often found in traditional plastics.2

But it doesn’t just end there


By choosing compostables, food service businesses can actively drive change in our recycling policy and infrastructure. The more businesses that choose to go the compostable route the better the infrastructure will be

to deal with the waste. Here at Sustainable Africa, we are actively working with the government and other private organisations in the waste sector to influence the environmental policies and the future infrastructure that we will have in place to effectively deal with waste.

©2019-2020 by Sustainable Africa. Proudly created by CC-WebDesign
+263 787 720 543

+27 11 083-8822
|South Africa | Zimbabwe | Botswana|

Eco friendly, compostable packaging