Product End-of-Life

What happens to our products at their end-of-life is not only significant environmentally, but it is also an important issue for the end-user. “What do I do with your cup after I’m done using it?” is a question we often get. Obviously we want as little product as possible to go to the landfill. However, not everyone has access to commercial composting, and recycling foodservice packaging can be extremely difficult due to food contamination and a host of technical challenges. That’s why we’re working with others in our industry to overcome these barriers and increase waste diversion for society as a whole.

Challenges and Opportunities

The US Composting Council Compostable Plastics Task Force
We’ve met composters who are consistently successful in composting foodservice packaging; we’ve met others who experience challenges on this front. It is incredibly important to us that our products compost (as they are certified to) so that composters continue to accept foodservice packaging and foodservice operators can continue to strive towards zero waste. Because BPI certified items can successfully be composted, there is a need to better understand and share the composting practices and conditions that facilitate this. We are active in the USCC Compostable Plastics Task Force, who is exploring just that. In 2014, we will actively support this group’s efforts as well as continue our own research and discussions with composters.

Foodservice Packaging Institute Paper Recovery Alliance/Plastics Recovery Group
The goal of this industry effort is to increase recycling of foodservice packaging. Through meetings and conversations with this group, we explore the perceived and actual barriers to foodservice packaging recycling. Specifically, we have donated products for a study to analyze how items such as our products flow through a recycling facility. This will provide insight on the feasibility of collecting and properly sorting these items. We have also shared our insight on the challenges with foodservice packaging collection and recycling, such as food contamination and its impact on end markets.

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We will continue to actively participate in industry efforts to address end-of-life challenges, such as the USCC Compostable Plastics Task Force and FPI’s PRA/PRG.