What is 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.

What are the advantages of flexible packaging?

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.

What is flexible packaging used for?

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

Is flexible plastic packaging recyclable?

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.

What are the benefits of compostable flexible packaging?

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.

How long will it take for compostable flexible packaging to disintegrate in compost?

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.

What is the difference between ‘biodegradable’ and ‘compostable’ packaging?

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 and Don’t Let Anyone Confuse You About Eco-Packaging.

What conditions trigger the biodegradation process in compost?

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.

Can conventional plastic be compostable?

No

Why doesn’t conventional plastic biodegrade?

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.

What is the difference between home and industrial composting?

The main difference between home and industrial composting is the rate of biodegradation.

European bioplastics defines the difference between home and industrial composting as follows: “The main difference between industrial and home/garden composting is that temperatures in industrial composting facilities are much higher and kept stable, whereas the temperature of a home compost are usually lower and less constant as well as being influenced by multiple other factors such as weather conditions. Home composting is a much slower process than industrial composting involving a comparatively smaller volume of waste.”

What does it mean when something is oxo-degradable?

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.

What is so special about TIPA®’s packaging?

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.

What is TIPA® compostable packaging made of?

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.

Is TIPA®’s packaging bio-based?

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.

What does bio-based mean?

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.

Is the manufacturing process of TIPA®'s products more environmentally friendly than the manufacturing process of conventional flexible plastics?

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.

Will TIPA®’s packaging break down on the shelf?

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.

What is TIPA®s policy concerning shelf-life?

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).

What type of storage conditions does TIPA®’s packaging need?

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.

Are TIPA®’s packaging designed to be heated?

TIPA’s products are not designed to be heated in a microwave, oven, or on a stove.

Could I freeze TIPA®’s packaging?

Yes, our packages can maintain their properties at freezing temperatures.

Could I pack liquids in TIPA®’s packaging?

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.

What are TIPA®'s barrier properties?

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

Does TIPA® provide cling/saran wrap?

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

What do I do with TIPA®'s packaging after use?

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.

Which waste bin should I use for TIPA® products?

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.

What is left behind after compostable packaging fully breaks down?

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.

Can I throw compostable packaging anywhere I want (i.e. ocean and nature)?

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.

What happens to TIPA®’s packaging if it ends up in a landfill?

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.

What happens to TIPA®’s packaging if it ends up in the ocean?

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.

Can TIPA®’s packaging be recycled?

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.

What are TIPA®’s certificates?

TIPA® abides by standards of compostability, including EN 13432, ASTM D6400, and ISO 17088 and TUV OK Compost home. All of our products are certified by TUV Austria or Seedling  for industrial composting, and several of our products are also certified by TUV Austria for home composting.

Is there any toxic residue after compostable packaging fully decomposes

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.

What is the minimum order quantity for TIPA®’s packaging?

The minimum order quantity for TIPA®’s applications (made-to-order products) is 25,000 units per SKU.

The minimum order quantity for TIPA®’s reels of film or laminate is 20,000 meters, or 1 ton of material.

What is the lead time from order to delivery?

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.

Does TIPA® provide raw material to customers?

We do not provide raw material, such as resins and/or pellets for customers.

Does TIPA® need special converting machinery to produce its packaging?

TIPA®’s products can be converted on conventional converting machinery.

What type of sealing machine can TIPA® use on its packaging?

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

What type of printing machine can be used on TIPA®’s packaging?

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.

How much does TIPA®’s packaging cost?

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®.

Is TIPA® packaging available for purchase by end-consumers?

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.

Does TIPA® work with converters?

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.