Guidelines for the Labeling and Identification of Compostable Products and Packaging

In September of 2020, the BPI Board of Directors approved “Guidelines for the Labeling of Compostable Products and Packaging”, the result of a collaborative project between BPI staff, a task force of BPI Board companies, and a wide range of other stakeholders both inside and outside the BPI Membership. The stated objective of the document is,

“To establish consistent, category-specific identification guidelines that make it easy for consumers, composters and others to identify compostable products and packaging, with the goals of reducing contamination, facilitating food scrap composting programs and decreasing landfill methane production.”

Compostable products and packaging exist to help facilitate the diversion of food scraps from landfills. Unfortunately, the threat of contamination from “look alike” non-compostable packaging has led some composters to discontinue accepting even certified compostable items. In order for compostable products and packaging to perform their intended function, they should be readily and easily identifiable by end-users, consumers, composters and others so they can be differentiated from their non-compostable counterparts. The guidelines put forth in this document reflect the belief that a consistent identification strategy employed by product manufacturers and brand owners is a key driver in achieving differentiation and will assist in the acceptance of food scraps and compostable products and packaging on a larger scale.

The recommendations in this document represent a starting point for an ongoing conversation on how to use labeling and identification techniques to address the challenge of contamination in organics streams. Please send us your feedback, comments, questions, and suggestions here.

Click here for a PDF on the complete labeling guidelines.