13. Dec 2022
Today, Fashion for Good (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) launches the Home-Compostable Polybag Project, a pilot to test alternatives to conventional single-use polybags. Orchestrated by Fashion for Good in partnership with C&A (Vilvoorde, Belgium) and Levi Strauss & Co. (San Francisco, CA, USA), this six-month project uses novel bags from Fashion for Good innovators TIPA Corp. (Hod HaSharon, Israel) and Greenhope (West Jakarta, Indonesia).
These bags are made with biobased material to lessen fossil fuel consumption and are designed to compost in either home or municipal composting environments. The project aims to find alternative end-of-use for landfill-bound materials, and to provide an at-home option for consumers who do not have access to municipal composting programmes.
Introducing compostable alternatives to landfill-bound polybags
An estimated 180 billion polybags are produced every year to store, transport, and protect apparel and footwear. Their production, use and end-of-use have a significant impact: conventional virgin polybags have a high carbon footprint and low recycling rates across the globe. Conventional bags are commonly incinerated, landfilled, or subject to environmental leakage, harming natural systems. To change this paradigm, innovation must both find appropriate disposal pathways that are less harmful to the environment and reduce fossil fuel consumption.
In the Home-Compostable Polybag Project, Fashion for Good partners C&A and Levi Strauss & Co. will test key home-compostable polybags that include, biobased material from innovators TIPA Corp. and Greenhope, in their supply chain as a viable substitute to conventional plastic polybags.
About biobased content and compostability
The final compostable plastic blends are generally derived from a mix of biobased materials and petroleum feedstocks. The home-compostable polybags used in this project contain 23–25 % biobased content generated from feedstocks such as food crops, organic waste and wood pulp.
The compostability refers to the material's ability to disintegrate and biodegrade under specific conditions and time into carbon dioxide, water vapour and microbial biomass capable of supporting plant growth. Composting can be tested in two environments, home environments and industrial environments. Home compostability can happen in a backyard composting bin and at ambient temperatures, whereas industrial compostability requires higher temperatures (50–60°C) and specific conditions at a large-scale facility.
Both technology providers have aligned to leading compostability certification bodies. TIPA Corp. are certified by TÜV Austria OK Compost Home, and Greenhope is undergoing certification for DIN CERTCO Home Compostable. These certifications are according to both the French standard NFT 51-800, and the Australian standard AS 5810.
Scaling innovative plastics
There are several critical challenges to scaling home-compostable bags: functionality, impact, cost, and infrastructure, all of which will be assessed over the course of the project. The innovative bags include biobased content, which must be tested against key performance and quality properties, such as transparency, durability and longevity. This project seeks to benchmark these bags against conventional plastics in supply chains, as well as measuring the overall impact and associated costs of the materials.
Building a foundation for circularity
The Home-Compostable Polybag Project is the third Fashion for Good polybag project following the Circular Polybag Pilot (completed in 2020) and Reusable Packaging (completed 2021) projects. These projects aim to validate innovations that reduce the dependence on virgin fossil fuels, reduce impact of production, and are capable of compostability, avoiding landfill. AT