Packaging is important…sometimes. Other times it’s a complete waste: a waste of effort spent on making the packaging, transporting it to where it is used, packing things in it and then transporting it again to where it is to eventually be discarded…at which point you have to find a way to recycle it, if you want to be green, or if it can’t be recycled send it to landfill. What a waste.

The growth in products sold online in itself creates the need for more packaging. We, at Virtuelicious,  go to great lengths to use as little packaging as possible: using the smallest packet possible and keeping labels as short as possible. What’s more, the packaging we do use can be composted in the home compost bin.

Since starting this business we’ve learnt a lot about packaging, yet there is more to learn. It has been extremely difficult to find food packaging that can go in the home compost bin. A lot of packaging that says it’s compostable can’t, in fact, be composted in the home compost bin, rather, it has to be sent to an industrial composter. We worked hard and spoke to a very clever lady at the manufacturer’s (Futamura) who explained that the packets we use for our meal kits are totally home compostable. The packets look like plastic but they are actually made from NatureflexTM which is made from wood pulp. They call it a bioplastic.

But using materials that come from nature doesn’t guarantee they can be composted. A common misconception is that CellophaneTM can be composted because it is made from wood. Unfortunately, while it is biodegradable it is not certified home compostable. This means that although it will break down into organic matter, it only does so after a longer period. In order for material to be classified as home compostable it must break down within twenty six weeks.

Another concern that can prevent ethical companies from using compostable packaging is that most compostable packaging is made from corn starch which includes GMOs. It is solely for this reason that some of them continue to use plastic. This got us worried so we checked whether our packaging has GMOs. We are pleased to say that as we use packaging made from wood pulp this isn’t an issue for us.

The bottom line is that it is hard to live a low waste lifestyle. Information is tricky to come by. It takes a huge amount of effort to sift out the good from the bad. And, when you think you’re there, someone tells you about a potential problem with what you are using. We set up this company to raise awareness about the need to use alternative types of packaging.

Read more about the reasons we have chosen our packaging here.