This company studied their packaging options and found some surprising information that spurred big changes.

A post on the FoodNavigator website presents a compelling—and surprising—argument for the use of plastic in food packaging. It states that a plant-based meat company called No Evil Foods recently switched from compostable packaging to paper cartons with plastic inserts, a move which many say seems counterintuitive.

FoodNavigator talked with the company’s co-founder, Sadrah Schadel, and she’s quoted in the article. “What we though was the more sustainable substance, as we did a lifecycle analysis of our products, we realized was not. So we almost bought into the greenwashing ourselves! And then we realized, wait a second, [compostable] is not the most sustainable option.”

Compostable packaging, in theory, is supposed to reduce landfill waste. That isn’t always the case, though. According to the article, most of the U.S. doesn’t offer industrial composting services, and if the packaging is mishandled, it might not break down as intended. It could even release methane gas.

The new packaging selected by No Evil Foods uses certified sustainable paperboard and sustainable inks and adhesives, and that has allowed them to cut greenhouse gas emissions more than 80 percent. The selection of plastic was a bit tougher, but in the end they partnered with an organization called rePurposed Global, which helps companies to offset their carbon footprints. Their new packaging not only lowers the company’s environmental impact, but it also allows them to have a substantially larger format and presence on the shelf.

Read the full article on FoodNavigator’s website here.

It can be confusing, can’t it? In the end, it isn’t that any one material is all good or all bad. Plastics can be deployed in a sustainable way, just like in this example. And while compostable wasn’t right in this instance, it might make sense in some smaller applications. At AMGRAPH, it’s our business to navigate all the options in packaging technology and provide our customers with the best possible solutions—solutions that are practical, durable, and meet all their goals. If you are struggling to make sense of the sustainability landscape, give us a call and let us help