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Oregon deq logo By State of Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
May 12, 2020

Predicting The Lifecycle Environmental Impacts of Compostable Packaging and Food Service Ware


Many businesses, governments, and individuals are designing or purchasing packaging and food service ware to be compostable as a means to reduce environmental impacts and conserve resources. But research suggests that compostability is a poor indicator for determining the environmental benefits – and burdens – of packaging and food service ware items.

Composting – the act of recovering nutrients from materials such as food and yard debris – is often times beneficial when compared against its alternatives (such as landfilling). However, compostable packaging and food service ware introduce a broader set of trade-offs, including the raw materials used to make compostable feedstocks and the environmental impacts of those upstream processes. DEQ reviewed literature from the last 18 years of environmental life cycle assessments that included compostable packaging and food service ware. 

Learn about their findings by reading the full report HERE.


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