Why Do We Certify Our Eco-Friendly Packaging?
The Nature Fresh Farms team has a passion for researching, trialing, and launching more eco-friendly packaging options. Whether it’s our recyclable and compostable pulp molded tray or our 100% home compostable Cucumber wrap, we believe introducing greener packaging to the produce sector is an essential part of green business leadership!
We know how important it is to validate a package’s environmental claims before launching it as an eco-friendly packaging alternative. When so many companies are being pushed to adopt more eco-friendly business practices, there is a growing problem where products (including packaging) are being greenwashed to seem more eco-friendly than they really are. That’s why so many certifications and regulators exist within packaging: to give truly green packaging alternatives credibility (and to unmask false claims about how environmentally friendly a package really is).
When we explore greener packaging alternatives, these certifications help our team determine what kinds of packaging will best serve our customers, our products, and our planet. Our recyclable and compostable pulp molded tray, which is supplied to us by our friends at Pulp Moulded Products (PMP), is an eco-friendly package we use to pack products like our Mini Cucumbers and Bell Peppers. The tray was recently certified through the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), but what does this certification really mean, and how does it benefit both our customers and composters? Let’s take a look!
What Is BPI Certification?
Within North America, BPI is a leader in providing certifications for compostable products and packaging. Their thorough certification process has been trusted to validate the compostability of thousands of different products and packages, giving businesses the confidence they need to launch more sustainable, forward-thinking products.
When packaging becomes BPI Certified, customers, as well as composters at the industrial level, have assurance that its compostability has been properly tested and it can be thrown in the compost bin without hesitation! BPI Certification means that people can make smarter decisions about how they dispose of the products they buy and the packaging it comes in.
The process of certifying a product or package with BPI is comprehensive, involving multiple steps that can take many months to complete. But without such detail-oriented testing, certifications like those acquired from BPI would not carry the weight they need to give people peace of mind about the products they’re buying.
Keep reading to learn more about how the BPI Certification process unfolded for our compostable pulp molded tray!
Case Study: Pulp Molded Tray
For our pulp molded tray to become BPI Certified, the tray’s “recipe” first had to be shared with multiple research labs so proper testing could be completed. These labs used a testing method approved by ASTM International (a globally recognized organization that develops standards for materials, products, services, and systems) called ASTM D6868.
The ASTM D6868 testing method helped test our pulp molded tray against a variety of criteria to ensure it could be certified through BPI. Here are a few of the criteria our tray was tested against:
- It was tested for the presence of any harmful compounds, such as asphalt, heavy metals, or fluorinated chemicals.
- The disintegration of the tray was tested to ensure it would break down in an industrial compost setting with optimal compost conditions. It took approximately 3 months for the tray to break down to 100% disintegration!
- Some companies also add strong bonding agents to their paper materials which can affect their compostability. This testing checks for any of these bonding agents to ensure compostability isn’t compromised.
Once this testing was completed, the results were sent to the team at BPI for review. And after the reviews were finalized, our pulp tray was officially BPI Certified!
Why Should a BPI Certification Matter to Me?
Why is it so important to us to go through certification processes like this with our packaging? For the same reasons that it should be important to you!
First, BPI Certified products and packages can be trusted as better for the planet. With shoppers becoming more eco-conscious and looking for environmentally friendly products on store shelves, compostable packaging stands out. Check out our blog for more on the environmental benefits of sustainable packaging!
BPI Certified packaging also ensures food safety standards are upheld. Any products or packages that BPI certifies are tested for the presence of harmful compounds, such as asphalt, heavy metals, or fluorinated chemicals, and these compounds can impact the product or package’s food safety standing in significant ways. So, when you purchase BPI Certified products or packaging, you can rest assured knowing that the testing it went through certified it as food safe!
Alongside being safe for both you and the planet, this pulp molded tray was also designed to replace a less eco-friendly (but more widespread) packaging option. Instead of adding yet another package to the mix, we decided to start using this pulp molded tray to help decrease our use of Styrofoam trays. And to date, we’ve replaced over 150,000 pounds of Styrofoam with this more eco-friendly option!
Certifications like those that come from BPI are meant to educate about and advocate for eco-friendly products and packages. If you buy a product that is sold in BPI Certified packaging, the hope is that you will seek more information about what that certification means and why it’s important for you as a consumer. And once you know more about it, that you will share that knowledge with your friends and family so more people can make informed decisions about the foods they buy!
More of Our Packaging Certifications
This pulp molded tray isn’t the only package we use that has been certified as a more sustainable packaging option.
- Our compostable Cucumber wrap was certified through the TUV OK Home Compost program as a 100% home compostable package.
- Many of our corrugated boxes have a certification from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative which certifies that they have been produced using sustainable forest products.
- We’ve recently joined the How2Recycle program, which has helped us better communicate proper recyclability of our packaging to shoppers.
- In 2020, we became a member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), which is a globally recognized collaborative that develops tools, applications, and services to help companies like ours make more eco-friendly packaging decisions.
Our commitment to researching, trailing, and launching eco-friendly packaging alternatives is unwavering! And as we continue to lead the way in adopting sustainable packaging options in the fresh produce industry, obtaining trusted certifications like those from BPI will remain critical to our mission of protecting people, our products, and the planet.