Study Shows Need for Increased Dialogue and Policy on Compostables in Canada

Posted On 09 Mar 2018
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VANCOUVER, March 9, 2018 – Compostable packaging is becoming increasingly common in Canada, but the results of a recent study by the National Zero Waste Council show that packaging manufacturers, governments and composting companies need to work more closely together if these materials are to reach their true circular economy potential.

The Council consulted with 152 stakeholders from nine sectors within the production, use and recovery of compostable packaging as part of Packaging and the Circular Economy: A Case Study on Compostables in Canada.

The study looked at the factors influencing the use of compostable packaging in Canada, and how to fulfill the waste reduction potential of this technology.

“The wide range of facility types handling food scraps across the country and their current capacity to process compostable packaging is a hurdle for these products,” said Susanna Carson, National Zero Waste Council Product & Design Packaging Working Group Co-Chair and CEO of BSIbio Packaging Solutions.

“The lack of alignment between packaging technology and the existing compost manufacturing infrastructure is a challenge for compostables but solutions are possible.”

The Council notes that an increased understanding of existing standards for compostable packaging and alignment with the common technologies used in compost manufacturing is necessary. In addition, policies guiding organics diversion and centralized composting should be harmonized across the country.

New material standards and labelling of compostable packaging would also assist consumers, business and those creating extended producer responsibility policies.

“Synergies on both sides already exist as they are mutually working towards zero waste and increasing diversion of recoverable materials from landfills,” says Colin Isaacs, National Zero Waste Council Product & Design Packaging Working Group Co-Chair and Senior Sustainable Development Analyst for CIAL Group.

“Increased dialogue and partnerships between producers, users and compost manufacturers will only enhance the likelihood of this packaging being recovered and fully composted.”

Other findings by the National Zero Waste Council show that the social drive for circular economies and zero waste is a motivating factor in the use of compostable packaging in Canada.

The Council’s Product Design and Packaging Working Group goal isto target waste generation through initiatives that encourage collaborative action across sectors with the potential to influence product design and packaging, and to support knowledge sharing and the promotion of best practice innovations. Other resources and guides relating to compostable materials, acceptance and designing for compostability are available at

The Packaging and the Circular Economy: A Case Study on Compostables in Canada can be accessed here.

Canada’s National Zero Waste Council is a cross sectoral leadership initiative that brings together governments, businesses and non-government organizations to advance waste prevention in Canada.


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