Compostable plastic packaging guidance

6th February 2020

New guidance addresses the confusion over compostable plastic packaging giving retailers and manufacturers the tools to make the right decisions when considering using compostable plastic. 

Key points
Six key applications where switching to compostable plastic packaging would be feasible in the current UK infrastructure.
Compostable plastics should be avoided where there is potential for them to contaminate conventional plastics recycling.
Clear labelling for citizens on their disposal is crucial.

The guidance: 

  • Clarifies what compostable plastic packaging is; 
  • outlines current waste management practice;
  • identifies key applications and opportunities to use compostable plastic packaging within existing infrastructure; and
  • considers communication with citizens on appropriate disposal.

It highlights the necessity of clear and correct labelling, design, communications and treatment of compostable materials but does not suggest uses that are currently unfeasible in the UK today.

The six key applications for compostable plastic packaging are: 

  1. Food caddy liners 
  2. Fruit and veg stickers 
  3. Tea bags 
  4. Coffee pods 
  5. Ready meal trays 
  6. Closed loop situations like at festivals or within buildings like coffee shops

Making the right decision   

If you work in the following areas click the links below to navigate to the interactive decision tree. They will help you determine which packaging applications might be better suited to either composting or traditional recycling routes.