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Why to Try Compostable Pouches (And When To Avoid Them)

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Why to Try: You want to boost your standing in consumer perceptions with eco-friendly credentials!

A biodegradable stand up pouch is eco-friendly in more ways than one. As flexible packaging, it ships flat, stores flat, and disposes flat — reducing materials needed to produce it and emissions required to ship it to its destination. When made with compostable packaging materials, you’re investing in the ultimate planet-saving package that returns to Mother Earth when its job is complete!

When to Avoid: Your product is a liquid.

The current material options on compostable and biodegradable pouches for liquid products simply quite aren’t there yet. Liquids and any products with oil residues (think bath salts or pet treats) can challenge the performance of biodegradable-compostable pouches, reducing effective shelf life and potentially compromising your product’s freshness or even leading to spills. Steer clear!

Why to Try: Helps both the planet and the consumer with products that have 12 months of shelf life (or less).

Consumers don’t need to worry about bandwidth in the recycling supply chain (many recyclable products never end up getting recycled), and have peace of mind that the products they buy will 100% return to the earth. The planet doesn’t need to worry as much about plastics in the ocean, near-permanent containers clogging up landfills, and failures in the recycling system. Any product you can reasonably expect to last for a year or less on the shelf can serve its purpose and ultimately disappear — including the compostable pouches you pack them in! 

When to Avoid: Price point is your #1 priority.

Compostable pouches are really cool, and may be completely worth the cost. However, if you’re badly squeezed on margins, keep in mind that these innovative solutions can also come in at a slightly higher price point than traditional, non-compostable materials. Prices are becoming more comparable every year, however.

Why to Try: You’re packaging granular dry products like spices, flour, rice, or cereal.

A compostable or biodegradable stand up pouch is ideal for dry products. There are HUGE opportunities for compostable pouches right now if your product is something like the ones on this list:

  • Flour or powders
  • Grains or seeds
  • Oats, granola
  • Crunchy snacks
  • Hard or soft candies
  • Hard tablets
  • Spices or seasoning mixes
  • Panko
  • Rice
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Loose-leaf tea, coffee beans (some roasted…test)
  • Frozen pizza

When to Avoid: You need to package loads of over 2 pounds in weight.

The material structures of compostable pouches (even when reinforced) are less strong than the plastics that typically endure landfills for centuries unscathed. It’s the very characteristics that allow it to biodegrade that reduce its overall strength. Try not to go over 2 pounds (test and be sure) with your product weight per package.

Why to Try: Your demographic skews young.

Compostable pouches will help you market idealism to millennials and gen z consumers. Younger buyers are especially interested in helping the environment and making responsible purchases. Hone in on the priorities of your target market — if it’s on the younger side, compostable is a great way to go.

When to Avoid: Your product includes sharp or abrasive materials!

Sharp and abrasive products can increase the risk of puncturing a biodegradable stand up pouch. Make sure to test the level of puncturability with your product to ensure it will perform as intended!

So there you have it… The bottom line is to always get samples first and test. Test, test, test. Compostable pouches are a hot item and give you real firepower with consumers, but you’ve got to ensure that they’re also right for your products and will deliver the performance you need.

Interested in investigating further? ABC Packaging — Stand Up Pouches can get you samples. Feel free to get in touch for a fast quote on any of our eco-friendly options!



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