>> Recyclable / Biodegradable / Compostable
An increasing number of products today are described as “eco-friendly” and biodegradable. However, not all of them live up to the environmentally friendly label. Even those that do make the grade as certified biodegradable or compostable don’t end up where they should.
Out of all the sustainability-related terms, you hear tossed around today recyclable is probably the single most used and distinct of the three. Merriam-Webster defines recyclable as, “to make something new again” which, in its essence, is pretty simple.
The idea of the term recyclable is to find another use for something, whether it’s the same object or it’s restoring it to its original state and reusing it. This term applies to most materials that you see like metals, plastics, and papers and is sometimes used as the “catch-all” term for a sustainable product.
The term compostable Is on the opposite side of the spectrum from recyclable where rather than reusing something you’re letting it break down. According to Merriam-Webster, the term compostable is defined as, “a decayed mixture of plants that are used to improve the soil in a garden.”
The definition itself is pretty self-explanatory, compost is made almost completely of plants of some sort that can ultimately be broken down into something called “Humus” (No, not like the stuff you eat). Humus is then distributed to dirt to add new nutrients to create good soil for growing new plans. Compostable plastic behaves much like other compostable materials in the sense that it needs a catalyst such as heat to break it down into compost.
The final term, biodegradable, is similar to compostable but with a few distinct differences. Miriam-Webster defines biodegradable as, “capable of being slowly destroyed and broken down into very small parts by natural process, bacteria, etc.” While this does sound similar to the definition of compostable, notice the absence of plants.
Biodegradable objects can be much more than plants, it can be papers, boxes, bags, and other items that have all been created with the ability to slowly break down until they’re able to be consumed on a microscopic level. This is one area you’re probably seeing a lot of manufacturers going with their products and overall it’s a pretty successful push.
✦ GreenerPrinter // Environmentally friendly printer. Uses recycled paper and soy & vegetable inks.
✦ PSPrint // Offer recycled paper stocks and vibrant soy-based inks.
✦ CatPrint // Offers many recycled paper stocks. Ships with Biodegradable Packing Peanuts
✦ Bloomin // Prints on seed paper; also sells blank seed paper to print on at home
✦ ZapCreatives // prints recycled stickers, sticker sheets and now offers 100% recycled acrylic charms/keychains
✦ BotanicalPaperworks // Prints on seed paper; sells blank seed paper, confetti, and packaging supplies
✦ Moo // Offers a tree-free/cotton stock option for business cards made from recycled T-shirt offcuts
>> Packaging Supplies:
✦ EcoEnclose // Recycled shipping supplies. Padded mailers. Boxes. Recycled shipping table and shipping labels.
✦ ClearBags // They do have compostable eco-friendly cello bags available.
✦ EchoPaperStore // Sells 100% Post-Consumer waste papers
✦ NoIssueCo // Custom printed recycled tissue paper, compostable mailers, packing tape, and stickers
✦ BotanicalPaperworks // Plantable eco packaging
✦ TreeHuggerBox // Kraft boxes in all shapes and sizes
>> Alternatives to Cello Bags:
Unlike plastic, cellophane cannot be recycled. It is biodegradable – but that doesn’t mean it’s ecofriendly! Cellulose bags are a-okay (vegetable-based)!
✓ Organza Bags – reusable!
✓ Recycled Tissue paper (not all places recycle tissue paper)
✓ Paper envelopes/kraft coin bags
✓ Glassine Bags – 100% recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable because they are not waxed or chemically-finished during manufacturing