Last October in Toronto, there was a roundtable discussion hosted by the National Zero Waste Council of Canada about enablers of, and barriers to, the recovery of compostable packaging in Canada.
Anytime you do something like this, it is essential to have representatives from as many stakeholder groups as possible. For this event, we were lucky to have voices from municipalities, provincial governments, composters, certifiers, distributors, retailers, product manufacturers, trade associations, and others. The conversations were productive, yielding a recently published report entitled, “Packaging and the Circular Economy: A Case Study on Compostables in Canada.”
One of the more commonly cited barriers was the lack of conformity between compostability standards and current composting processing conditions, and in particular, the variability of those composting conditions. This is nothing new to anyone who has been paying attention to the issues facing large scale organics diversion in North America and across the globe.
One example of BPI’s engagement on this topic is the technical leadership and support we have provided to the CCREF’s Open Source Field Testing program, which will collect data on how different composting conditions impact the ability of compostable products to disintegrate. You can read about that in this recent BioCycle magazine article.
Additionally, BPI is working with the Compost Manufacturing Alliance (CMA) on testing a variety of items in two different composting systems to get better data for our Members on how BPI Certified products perform in those systems. CMA is a nationwide partnership of compost manufacturing facilities providing field disintegration testing for food service products.
For BPI, it will always be about the broader diversion effort, and the crucial importance of keeping wasted food and other organics out of landfills. If there is one thing we should all be able to agree on, that is it.