We live in an increasingly complex society. With so many decisions to make each and every day, convenience often wins over sustainability. To help make a fraction of your daily consumer decisions just that little bit easier (and to coincide with National Recycling Week) here’s some handy information to get you thinking about how you can change the little things in your day, from your choice of take away coffee cup, to various food packaging, and in doing so, help the environment.
What does recycling have to do with my daily takeaway tea or coffee?
If you take a look at one of the aims of National Recycling Week this year, the campaign is all about equipping people with the tools to minimise waste and manage material resources responsibly at school, home and work. One aspect of the campaign is raising awareness of recyclable, biodegradable and compostable packaging. And that’s where your takeaway coffee or tea comes in!
Now before I go any further, the good news is, if you’ve visited the Emubob Tea market stall and enjoyed a sample of our blends, you’ve made the right choice! You see our sample cups are actually compostable and recyclable and there’s so many other businesses offering similar environmentally friendly options.
So, some questions to consider while you stand in line for your fast food order or morning coffee:
Where will my packaging end up?
Is there any way I can reduce the amount of packaging, like going without a plastic bag?
Does the café or take away store offer environmentally sustainable packaging?
Can I use my own takeaway cup for my next order?
Is it really a big deal if I don’t choose compostable, biodegradable or recyclable packaging?
Obviously, it’s totally a personal choice and at times might be influenced by considerations such as cost and convenience. It is, however, worthwhile knowing what is what when it comes to sustainable packaging.
Biodegradable & Compostable
Biodegradable is term used to describe a material that can undergo anaerobic or aerobic degradation. With almost everything biodegradable over time, as a consumer trying to make a sustainable decision, this can be rather confusing!
It’s important to keep in mind there are certain standards that must be met to claim packaging as biodegradable and/or fully compostable. These include the European Norm EN 13432 and/or the US Standard ASTM D6400-99 and/or the Australian Standard AS4736-2006. So, at the very least, if your packaging meets these standards it indicates the materials will break down in industrial composting conditions, and at the very best, will break down in all composting systems (including your home compost). But be sure to do your research before placing any packaging in your home compost!
If you’re keen for further information here are some useful links:
European Union - EN-13432
European Union - packaging and home composting
How to avoid products with excessive packaging
This is a highly eco-friendly option but is reliant of course on the end user deciding to recycle the product at the appropriate recycling centre and ensuring there’s no food contamination. This option allows the material to be reused to create something new, increasing the product lifecycle, which is an awesome way to reduce landfill!
Whatever action you decide to take this National Recycling Week and beyond, be sure to be well-informed!
Happy Recycling everyone!
NOTE: Emubob Tea’s packaging consists of bio-degradable brown kraft paper, includes a bio zip and is lined internally with bio foil. Our bags are made from materials classified as bio-degradable under the EN 13432 European Standard. In addition, our small 15g cellophane bags are also biodegradable.