Colo.-based natural, energy-dense bar brand and 1% for the Planet member BAR-U-EAT unveiled new Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI)-certified compostable packaging for its individually wrapped bars. The brand says this makes it the first bar company in the world to offer packaging carrying this certification for the entire package. The move ensures that the packaging will break down properly in commercial compost systems, and not contaminate the environment. It also steps leaps beyond the industry standard of single-use plastics, according to the company.
Every year more than two billion pre-packaged snack, protein, and energy bars are consumed, almost all of which come in single-use plastics or multi-layered wrappers. This creates millions of pounds of waste from a non-renewable, non-biodegradable resource. BAR-U-EAT's new packaging are made from renewable, sustainably sourced materials can break down to become nutrient rich soil. This type of packaging is at the forefront of where sustainable packaging technology is headed and where it needs to go to combat waste and the use of finite resources. The company claims it is is a full 10 years ahead of the curve and is already compliant with California's SB 54 legislation, which requires all packaging in the state to be third-party verified to be recyclable or compostable by 2032.
The new packaging is composed of plant-based materials from FSC Certified sustainably managed forests. The brand’s material supplier Elk Packaging uses a combination of films from Futamura and other suppliers. It additionally complies with the specifications established in the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D6400 to be aerobically composted and is biodegradable.
“The film structure is a lamination of a cellulosic-based film and a compostable sealant web with LLDPE properties. The plant-based materials come from a wood cellulose from FSC-certified, sustainably managed forests and corn,” says Jason Friday, BAR-U-EAT’s co-founder, further confirming that the film material is not PLA-, PHA-, or Braskem-related.
The film material is flexographically printed in five colors total, one for each of four SKUs plus white, and provided as rollstock to the brand for flow wrapping. Notably, this film material runs on traditional flow-wrap equipment.
Since compostable packaging is quite new to most consumers, PW asked Friday about how he handles consumer education and proper disposal, to ensure the film doesn’t end up in landfill or worse, contaminating an existing recycling stream.
“On the packaging there is a section which says, ‘BPI Compostable Commercially Compostable Only.’ There is also a QR code on the side of every box which directs them to a link on the BAR-U-EAT website that outlines how to properly dispose of our packaging and compost. This is also bolstered by marketing efforts in email, social, and SMS,” he says. “The consumer is expected to commercially compost our packaging. This is the best route for the consumer to take so that it can turn into usable compost. If a consumer doesn’t have access to commercial composting, the appropriate place to dispose of the wrapper is in a landfill. These wrappers are not recyclable but are biodegradable.”
According to the company, BAR-U-EAT's longstanding mission is to change the way we think about the food that we eat and how it's packaged. Founders believe that packaged food should be simple, free from oils and preservatives, and packaged in a way that is less wasteful and regenerative to our planet. With BAR-U-EAT's new plant-based packaging, the wrapper your food comes in will now become food for our planet. PW