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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
How2Compost Label Aims to Facilitate Proper Packaging Disposal

With private and municipal composting programs becoming more mainstream, as well as more companies turning to more sustainable packaging designs, composting is now easier than ever. The next step in the crusade to reduce waste? The Sustainable Packing Coalition (SPC)’s launch of the new How2Compost label program.

How2Compost is an on-package label that informs consumers that packaging is certified compostable, offers directions on appropriate composting, and includes the URL for further information.

The How2Compost label was developed by SPC in conjunction with the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), the leading compostable packaging certification program. By looking for the How2Compost label, consumers can now more easily identify packaging and products that are certified to compost in industrial composting facilities. Every package featuring How2Compost is either certified compostable by BPI, or contains a certified product so consumers can trust that it has gone through required testing and is third-party verified in accordance with standards related to industrial composting facilities.

How2Compost is an extension of the How2Recycle program. Like the How2Recycle label, the How2Compost label is a next generation labeling system that brings harmonization and precision to recovery claims on packaging and is designed in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's guidance over environmental marketing claims. Companies can choose to become a member of How2Compost in order to feature the label on their BPI-certified packaging, to provide additional consumer clarity on the compostability of the various packaging components and related products.

"We have been working diligently over the past two years to bring a thoroughly vetted and consumer-tested How2Compost Label to the marketplace, with the goal of helping composters receive clean streams of material required for appropriate compost manufacturing," explained SPC Senior Manager Anne Bedarf. "As the nationwide focus on food waste and composting increases, the How2Compost Label is poised to provide an important educational tool for the public on not just compostable packaging, but also the value of compost manufacturing infrastructure nationwide."

How2Compost can be used seamlessly next to the How2Recycle label on packaging, for instances where a package can either be recycled or composted, or has some components that are compostable and some that are recyclable.

"Compostable products and packaging are continuing to go mainstream, in step with communities and businesses that are diverting food scraps from disposal to composting," said Rhodes Yepsen, Executive Director of BPI. "As such, consumers are becoming more familiar with compostable products at restaurants, sports and music venues, schools, etc., and increasingly on retail shelves. The How2Compost and How2Recycle labels provide a uniform platform for communicating to the public about end of life options, which is particularly critical when the package and product are designed for different recovery streams, one for recycling and the other composting, to ensure they end up in the right collection bin."

Reynolds, makers of Reynolds Wrap® foil, Hefty® trash bags and slider bags, as well as Eco-Products, will be of the first to use the How2Compost label on their products. Reynolds will begin using the label on its Hefty disposable tableware products, while Eco-Products will use it in conjunction with How2Recycle on its compostable product secondary packaging.

"When a compostable product is in a recyclable package, this can easily lead to consumer confusion. We know that most consumers want to do the right thing, they just need clear guidance on how to do it," said Sarah Martinez, Sustainability Maven for Eco-Products. “The How2Compost label is an effective way to help people take part in waste diversion.”