DEVELOPMENT VERSION – Please provide your questions or comments to

Option 5 – Substitution

In This Section

The following actions, individually or collectively, will contribute to achieving the outcomes of reducing the environment impacts of paper and fibre packaging thru substitution to more sustainable forms of packaging.

Available Courses of Action

  • Action 1 – Adopt Certified Compostable Packaging
  • Action 2 – Adopt Alternative Packaging Materials that enable recyclability

Action 1 – Adopt Certified Compostable Packaging

The adoption of certified compostable packaging can reduce the environmental impacts of packaging, notably when the packaging is typically not recycled due to the presence of food waste. In those instances, compostable packaging can increase the redirection of food waste while avoiding undue contamination of industrial composting systems. In instances where packaging applications are likely to result in food waste or food cuttings, certified compostable packaging is worthy of consideration.

The following use case(s) provide examples of where the adoption of certified compostable packaging has been demonstrated for paper and fibre packaging.

Use Cases
Use Cases are currently being identified and reviewed

Action 2 – Adopt Biobased Packaging (including papers) that enable recyclability

The adoption of biobased packaging, including papers, can result in more recyclable or sustainable packaging solutions than some commonly used packaging forms. In instances where non-recyclable paper and fibre-based packaging can be replaced with alternatively recyclable materials, the adoption of such biobased options should be considered. A key consideration when exploring biobased options is the overall life cycle impact of substituting to biobased packaging, notably any changes in greenhouse gas emissions and net overall carbon footprint.

The following use case(s) provide examples of where the adoption of biobased packaging has been demonstrated for paper and fibre packaging.

Use Cases
Use CaseInnovationApplication Release to Market
Sonoco Material SubstitutionPaper can made with +90% fibre replaces steel bottom, uses 60% recycled content, validated with multiple repulping trialsDry food products2022
Cascades with FSC-certified feedstockCardboard baskets use FSC-certified feedstock Fresh produce2023

Supporting Resources

Useful resources to consider as you explore applying one or more of the above actions to paper and fibre packaging include:

General Information
  • Contamination at Composting Facilities March 2024
    Closed Loop Partners

    To support the industry in addressing contamination at scale, the Consortium conducted an in-field study with 10 U.S. compost manufacturers to measure and characterize contamination across different points of the composters’ processes––and analyzed the financial cost to composters to handle contamination. The study examines five commonly held assumptions about contamination and compostable packaging, and breaks down in-field realities in a data-backed and easy-to-follow format. 

  • Model Principles for Labelling Compostable Products
    BPI and US Composting Council

    Lists the top 10 key principles of labelling compostable products