Differences Between Recyclable and Compostable Packaging

Differences Between Recyclable and Compostable Packaging

When you start “going green” with your products and packaging, you’ll notice a variety of terms attached to sustainable packaging. What’s the difference between compostable and recyclable packaging? Actually, there are several. Let’s look at a few.

Recycling and Composting Defined

The processes of composting and recycling, while both designed to reduce landfill waste, are different in execution.


When you recycle something, it gets converted into something new. Think about single-use water bottles: many of them are made of recycled plastic.


On the other hand, when you compost something, you’re giving food to worms. Compostable materials are designed to break down and decompose without emitting toxic by-products.

Where Does the Material Go?

When you recycle a piece of glass or plastic, it goes to a recovery facility where it’s cleaned, broken down, and processed into new material. It does not biodegrade on its own; it requires human intervention to become a different product.

Compostable materials go on—you guessed it—a compost pile, often filled with all kinds of organic materials. If you have a compost pile at home, you might throw fruit rinds and coffee grounds on there too. That material breaks down naturally with minimal or no human intervention, and becomes a nutrient-rich substance perfect for gardening.

Which Materials Go Where?

Look at your recycling bin. You’ll probably find a fair amount of plastic and glass in there. Aluminum cans and paper waste are also recyclable and often converted into new aluminum and paper goods after processing.

Now, look at your compost pile. The only things that belong there are of organic origin, like yard waste, food scraps, and even teabags. FunPak’s star-shaped packing peanuts can go on a compost pile because they’re made of organic, plant-based material. They’ll biodegrade along with your fruit rinds to provide essential nutrients for your soil.

Make a commitment to greener business practices by using biodegradable packaging for your products. There are a few differences between recyclable and compostable packaging, but both options reduce your carbon footprint and keep waste out of landfills.

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