All you need to know about
compostable flexible packaging

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Compostable Flexible Packaging

It is a type of packaging which is pliable and has a shape that can be readily changed. Flexible plastic packaging is one of the fastest growing segments in packaging, and is most commonly made from plastic polymers such as polyethylene and polypropylene.

Its advantages include its low-volume and lightweight structure, as well as the ability to be made from several layers of material to enhance properties like shelf-life, durability, printability, barrier, sealability, and strength. Its flexibility is a key performance factor for many industries.

Flexible packaging is regularly used to wrap products during storage, transport, and to protect products, including food items, during shelf-life.

Most waste-treatment centers do not accept flexible plastic packaging for recycling because its material structure is too complex, contaminated by food, and/or lightweight to be successfully recycled. Of the very few types of flexible packaging that are recyclable, very little (about 4%) are actually recycled.

TIPA®’s compostable flexible packaging has the same properties as conventional plastic flexible packaging, including durability, transparency, sealability, and barrier, but is fully compostable, and biodegrades in compost like organic waste.

TIPA® Compostable films and laminates complies with standards for home and industrial composting, including ASTM D6400, ISO 17088, and EN 13432, and TUV OK Compost Home which stipulate that home compostable films disintegrate within 6 months and industrially compostable films disintegrate within 3 months.

Biodegradable vs. Compostable

The term ‘biodegradable’ represents a process, but not necessarily under what conditions or time frame, also, the rate of decomposition can vary significantly. Technically, all chemical compounds can be biodegradable under the right conditions, and will decompose over a certain period of time, but that time could be hundreds or thousands of years. For example, wood is biodegradable, but wooden structures don’t break down and can stand for generations. Trees are biodegradable, but stand for hundreds of years. If a material is compostable, it means that under composting conditions (heat, humidity, oxygen, & microorganisms) it will break down to CO2, water, and a nutrient-rich compost within a specific time frame.

Want to know even more? Check out our blog post.

Heat, humidity, oxygen, & microorganisms. Shredding the material into small pieces will help move along the degradation process. We encourage you to look further into this topic if it’s something you want to learn more deeply about. Take a look at this video from TUV Austria.

No

Biodegradation is the natural decomposition of organic waste by microorganisms. It is the process in which the molecular structure of a material breaks down through an enzymatic or metabolic process. Conventional plastic does not biodegrade for two reasons: (1) their chemical bonds are too strong and (2) their molecules will not break down by natural processes. *Biodegradation can take any amount of time to occur. Composting is the natural decomposition of organic waste by microorganisms within a specified time period.

The main difference between home and industrial composting is the rate of biodegradation. Interested about learning more? European Bioplastics define the difference here.

Oxo-degradable plastics are made from non-biodegradable conventional plastics and supplemented with additives that chemically mimic biodegradation to facilitate fragmentation of the material. Oxo-degradable plastics break down into very small fragments that remain in the environment.

TIPA® Properties

TIPA®’s compostable films and laminates were developed with a sophisticated set of properties with many of the capabilities and characteristics of conventional plastic, so that brands have the opportunity to use compostable packaging for their chain of supply without compromising on quality or sustainability.

Our packaging is made from proprietary blends of fully compostable polymers that are both bio-based and fossil-based (Yes! Fossil-based polymers can be compostable too! Learn more about this on European Bioplastics). For further information or technical data sheets, please contact us.

TIPA® products are all fully compostable, and are between 20-80% bio-based. The remaining percentage is made of fully compostable fossil-based polymers. It’s important to keep in mind that not all bio-based polymers are compostable. TIPA® is always looking for ways to use more bio-based material, but never at the expense of a compostable end-of-life.
According to the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), a bio-based product is one that is, “wholly or partly derived from biomass,” such as plants. TIPA®’s compostable films and laminates are sourced with 20-80% bio-based polymers.
The manufacturing process is the same as conventional plastic. TIPA®’s films and laminates are manufactured with the existing machinery and chain of supply systems for flexible packaging, so that our packaging solution can be available globally, without need for expensive or uncommon machinery.
It is unlikely that TIPA® compostable packages will start to biodegrade on the shelf, as they are meant to biodegrade only under compost conditions (high heat, humidity, microorganisms, etc.), but the quality of the package will begin to deteriorate with time.
We recommend a 6-month shelf-life for our packaging. With that being said, we do have customers that are using our packaging for products with 1-year shelf life or more after conducting their own shelf-life testing. TIPA® provides a 6-month guarantee for any flaw in production (a common practice in the packaging industry).
In general, all flexible packaging (compostable and non-compostable) requires proper storage conditions which are usually below 30°C and a relative humidity of 50%. Please note: in places with extreme weather conditions, (i.e. extreme humidity or heat) the degradation process for TIPA® compostable packaging can be accelerated.
TIPA’s products are not designed to be heated in a microwave, oven, or on a stove.
Yes, our packages can maintain their properties at freezing temperatures.
Not yet. Liquid is a key catalyzing agent for commencing the biodegradation process, a process which breaks down organic material into smaller pieces so that it can be metabolized by microorganisms and turned into compost. We do not currently pack liquid products or products with very high moisture content.

TIPA’s portfolio has a variety of film and laminate solutions with different properties and characteristics. For more information regarding each of our films and laminations, take a look at our catalog

TIPA® does not offer a solution for plastic cling/shrink wrap.

TIPA® End-of-Life

First, check the label. TIPA® produces certified home and/or industrial compostable films and packages. The label on your packaging will tell you if it is home or industrial compostable. If the label on your package says home compostable, you can dispose of your package in your home or backyard compost. If the label says that the package is industrial compostable, please check if your local waste treatment center accepts compost before placing this package in your organic waste bin.
Always check your local waste treatment regulations before placing this package in your organic waste bin. All of TIPA®’s compostable films are certified to break down in industrial compost, and some of our products are home compostable as well. In the case that local regulations allow disposal, you can place the package in your organic waste bin to be sent to municipal organic waste treatment centers. Never send our compostable packaging to be recycled, as it will contaminate the conventional plastic recycling.
Compost! Official International compost standard (EN13432, ASTM D6400) assures the compost created from certified compostable materials is perfectly safe to be used later to cultivate the soil. In order to comply with these standards, the material undergoes not only biodegradation tests but other rigorous testing to assure no toxins or heavy metals are present.
Definitely not! Littering is never a sustainable option! TIPA®’s compostable packaging is not meant to be disposed of in marine environments or land ecosystems and should be disposed of in the proper waste stream where it will biodegrade into compost.
We haven’t tested our packaging in landfill conditions, but we think TIPA®’s packaging will act the same as organic waste in any condition, including landfill.
TIPA® strongly discourages littering in marine environments, and we have not tested or certified our films and laminates in marine environments. Because our polymers are certified degradable, we believe they will likely degrade in marine conditions, but it’s not clear how much time it will take them to decompose.

TIPA® compostable packaging cannot be recycled with other plastics and will contaminate a plastic recycling waste stream. Please do not place our packaging in the recycling bin.

TIPA®️ abides by standards of compostability, EN 13432, ASTM D6400, AS 4736/AS 5810 and TÜV OK Compost Home. Our products are certified by TÜV Austria, Din Certco, BPI and ABA for industrial composting, or certified as home compostable by TÜV Austria and ABA. 

TIPA®’s compostable films are certified and abide by International standards which include eco-toxicity and heavy metals tests to assure all certified compostable materials are nourishing and perfectly safe to cultivate the soil.

Purchasing and Logistics

The minimum order quantity for TIPA®’s Reels and packaging applications is 500 kg per size/design.

TIPA’s compostable pre-made packaging is now available in a stock offering for low quantities. Order your compostable packaging now!

Lead time for an order is typically 8-12 weeks for production after purchase order or final graphics. This excluding shipping time, which depends on the buyers’ location.

TIPA’s compostable pre-made packaging is now available in a stock offering for low quantities. Order your compostable packaging now!

We do not provide raw material, such as resins and/or pellets for customers.
TIPA®’s products can be converted on conventional converting machinery.

TIPA®’s products can be used on standard heat-sealing machines, as well as low-temperature sealing machines.

We print with Digital and Flexo processes. If your packaging has more specific printing requirements, contact us about your specific printing needs. Please note, in order to receive compostable certification, the ink on the package must be in accordance with relevant standards for compostability.

We price our products according to many different factors, including the type of laminate or film, its thickness, application, printing, and size, and therefore it is difficult to give an accurate answer for the cost of our packaging. Please Contact us for more information regarding pricing if your brand is interested finding a compostable packaging solution with TIPA®.

TIPA’s compostable pre-made packaging is now available in a stock offering for low quantities. Order your compostable packaging now!

TIPA® does not sell directly to the end-consumer. TIPA® provides packaging solutions for brands and companies replacing conventional plastic packaging with sustainable alternatives in their product lines.

TIPA’s compostable pre-made packaging is now available in a stock offering for low quantities. Order your compostable packaging now!

Yes! TIPA® provides solutions for the entire chain of supply. We provide reels of film and laminate for converters, custom made-to-order packaging for brands, as well as the necessary know-how for shelf-life, printing, sealing, and product packing.