How to compost plant-based packaging

What is composting? Well, basically it’s the natural breakdown of organic matter over time using fungi, bacteria, insects, worms, and other organisms to produce nutrient-rich compost. For more information on how composting works, click here.

What are the methods of composting?

Know the difference and how to use them.

There are two different kinds of composting – home composting and commercial composting.

Why does it matter?

Be aware whether that plant-based packaging item can be put into your home compost heap.

It is important to know the difference so that we can dispose of organic waste – including plant-based packaging – responsibly, as well as identify different compost bins when out and about (not something we can relate to right now).

Because, while almost all organic waste can be composted at home, not all compostable packaging can be. Some packaging can be easily broken down in home composting systems, while some need the regulated environment of a commercial facility.

How to compost at home

A home composting system is slower than a commercial one, and can’t compost some plant-based packaging.

Simply put, a home composting system is a compost heap in your backyard. This is usually some kind of bin open to the earth so that composting organisms can have access. While the end result is still nutrient-dense soil, similar to that of commercial composting facilities, the main difference is that the temperature and atmosphere are less regulated. This means that composting will be slower – and it will not break down all plant-based packaging.

Industrial composting

Commercial composting occurs in a more controlled environment.

Industrial composting is where organic waste is sent to a commercial facility to be mass-composted. The environment in a commercial composter is easier to control and maintain than in home composting.

Composting standards

BioPak uses Australian and New Zealand composting standards.

Look out for composting certifications when disposing of compostable packaging. BioPak uses Australian and New Zealand standards: AS4736 for commercially compostable, and AS5810 for home compostable.


Information taken from BioPak’s website.

Read more about what goes into landfill, and how we can promote composting Australia-wide, on our blog.


Article by Tallis Baker.

Planet Friendly Packaging acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land on which we work.

Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by COVID-19. Stay safe.