A Crash Course in Compostable Packaging for Small Business Owners

A Crash Course in Compostable Packaging for Small Business Owners

By Eva Ross

An unlikely hero in the fight to protect the environment is none other than the humble compost heap, quietly driving the shift towards a circular economy with almost effortless waste management and creating a healthier planet for years to come.

Currently, recycling is one of the most ingrained waste-reduction habits in our households, but the ‘make, use, dispose’ approach also puts a strain on our recycling system.

As the world locks down during the coronavirus pandemic, kerbside bins are overflowing and this has put a strain on our recycling facilities. Australian households have thrown out more than 10% more rubbish and recyclables during lockdown due to the spike in supermarket shopping and home deliveries.

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Even if this wasn’t a mounting issue, food waste is another offender in the fight against climate change. If it could be represented as a country, it would be the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind the USA and China.

At Sendle, we consider the environment as one of our key stakeholders.

The essential health measures put in place during COVID-19 have made our day-to-day sustainable habits a little tricker. We’ve had to move away from BYO containers, revert to single-use coffee cups and we haven’t had access to clearly labelled recycling bins at work.

But the lockdown has also helped us embrace more sustainable habits, connecting us with nature and simple living. Many of us are spending more time exercising outdoors, gardening, caring for indoor plants and preparing home cooked meals with vegetables and herbs from the garden.

More people have had time to embrace sustainable habits during pandemic lockdown, such as gardening and home cooking. Photo: cottonbro.

Off the back of International Compost Awareness Week, we’re highlighting the role of composting in alleviating the pressure on our waste management systems and doing something positive for the environment in our own backyards.

How to get started with composting at home 

Composting can be a rewarding at-home ritual that helps fight the war against waste, saves money and resources, and reduces your carbon footprint.

And with so many of us staying at home and shopping online during the pandemic, now is the perfect time to redefine our waste.

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You can easily start a compost by layering wet ‘greens’ with dry ‘brown’ matter to create an even moisture ratio — 50:50 will do, as long as the heap remains consistently damp. 

Green matter is rich in nitrogen and includes items such as teabags, coffee grounds, lawn clippings and vegetable peelings.

Composting kitchen scraps reduces food waste
Composting kitchen scraps reduces food waste. Photo: j.chizhe.

Brown materials are carbon-rich and include things like egg cartons, dead leaves, newspapers and plain takeaway boxes.

As food scraps decompose in the presence of oxygen, the carbon and nitrogen get returned to the soil rather than given off as greenhouse gases. This reduces the amount of methane in landfills which forms in zero oxygen conditions.

Composting can be as low maintenance as laying out a pile on bare earth, cushioned by twigs or straw. Enclosed systems will generate more heat, which can speed up the decomposition process. In a home compost situation, this might be a bin or a tumbler — with a fixed container, you have to get in there with a pitchfork to ensure the pile remains aerated.

Compostable materials

Composting will make your home a little greener, but it can also improve your environmental credentials as a small business owner.

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Whether you’re an Etsy artisan or simply auctioning off some secondhand goods on eBay, you’ll have to package them up somehow. Customers in 2020 care less about how the package looks and more about how they feel when it’s time to toss it out.


There’s no way of avoiding it — online shopping creates excessive waste.

Consumers today don’t want to spend their days decoding recycling rules. They want to quickly and sustainably dispose of your packaging and feel good doing it.

Opting for compostable satchels provides an opportunity for businesses and consumers to counteract the harmful effects of packaging and appeal to green conscious customers — a Sendle survey revealed that 64% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that offers compostable mailers.

Eva Ross is chief marketing and customer officer at Sendle.

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