Here at Stay'd, we're on a mission to elevate the food delivery experience with a hospitality-first approach through our locations in downtown St. Paul and the West End district of Minneapolis. You'll notice this come to life in our menu quality, personal touches like handwritten cards from our chefs, and most of all - through our thoughtful, sustainable packaging.
PARTNERS IN SustainabILITY
Our packaging partner, Good Start Packaging, prides themselves on providing certified compostable takeout packaging for the hospitality industry. Not only are they great looking, but they are a giant step up from the flimsy, disposable plastic takeout containers we all have come to know.
Good Start Packaging containers are sustainable and strong, and they offer one of the widest selections of compostable packaging products in the food service industry. Aside from reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills or the ocean, their compostable containers produce less pollution when manufacturing too. They break down in the soil when composted and also make use of agricultural byproducts and renewable plant materials - think corn, wheat fiber, and sugarcane - helping to reduce waste and support farmers.
It is no surprise that the top 2022 sustainability trends in the food industry are centered around plant-based menu innovation and sustainability. It is stated that nearly half of all consumers look for foods and drinks labeled "plant-based," with growing numbers of consumers interested in sustainable packaging for their favorite goods.
Food waste diversion is another top sustainability trend in the food industry, and rightfully so. Nearly 84% of food waste from restaurants ends up in landfills. Yup - we're shocked, too! With this astonishing statistic, the benefits of composting are greater now than ever. Not only are the costs minimal, but by composting you are also helping to:
Improve local water sources
Improve soil structure
Reduce the need for chemical fertilizers
Reduce impact of materials in landfills
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Reduce dependency of fossil fuels
Shift to plant based materials and away from plastics
Biodegradable vs compostable packaging
The need for better food packaging solutions is more prominent now than ever. In 2018, the EPA estimated the containers and packaging accounted for nearly 28% of municipal solid waste, including 14.5 million tons of plastic containers and packaging.
Companies like our packaging partner, Good Start Packaging, are making great strides in their efforts to combat these statistics by offering more sustainable options for restaurants like Stay'd. Many businesses have started offering biodegradable and compostable products. Let's define these and explore their key differences.
Compostable packaging can be defined as products that can disintegrate into non-toxic, natural elements at a rate consistent with similar organic materials. Compostable materials are biodegradable, but the reverse is not true. Compostable materials do require certain conditions to do so, but the composting process turns food and compostable materials into organic matter, leaving behind no plastics or chemicals.
Zero waste is a buzzy term but it can be used to describe a compostable product. Per the Zero Waste International Alliance or ZWIA, refers to something "without discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health."
Biodegradable packaging can be defined as products that can be consumed by living microorganisms - think bacteria or fungi. These living microorganisms help to break down the biodegradable packaging into compounds that are found in nature. As we said above, compostable packaging is biodegradable, but biodegradable packaging is not always compostable.
With biodegradable packaging comes a very grey line. Labeling products or packaging as biodegradable requires no certification, so manufactures can unfortunately get away with using this term even when their packaging takes years or even decades to fully break down.
This unfortunate labeling "technique" is known as greenwashing. The EPA specifies that the term biodegradable in marketing be accompanied by the length of time it will actually take for the plastic to fully break down. Along similar lines, the FTC Green Guides were produced to help prevent marketers and companies from making false claims. The Green Guides state that manufactures must have scientific evidence demonstrating that all materials in their packaging become usable compost in a timely manner.
Stay'd is proud to partner with innovative companies like Good Start Packaging in our quest to elevate and enhance our hospitality-first food delivery experience through our St. Paul and Minneapolis restaurant locations. We support their mission in providing sustainable and compostable packaging materials to the food and hospitality industries, and look forward to continuing to pave this path forward with them.