Eco friendly glossary
There can be much confusion on what eco properties mean and how it affects the life cycle of products after use. We have added eco properties to each of our products so you know how they can be disposed of.
Below is what we mean by terms used on our website. Whilst we make every effort to make our eco properties accurate, we are a wholesale distributor and rely on the information provided by our manufacturers, and errors can occur.
Widely recyclable means that the product can go through traditional recycling in the UK and requires no intervention or investment in changes to current recycling processes and the majority of the public have access to correct bins to dispose of it.
Recyclable means that the material of this product is able to be recycled in the UK. In the case of some products, (for example, PE lined paper cups) for the material to be recycled the user may need to segregate, clean, or dispose of in a specialist waste stream to ensure it is recycled in reality.
Commercially Compostable & Biodegradable
Commercially compostable and biodegradable means that the product has been certified to compost within 12 weeks in an industrial composting facility, biodegradable is purely a process within the composting process, if you litter the product it will not biodegrade on top of the ground. It requires a specialist compost collection service and will not compost in home compost (unless marked see below). If the product is disposed of in anything other than a commercially composting facility it is most likely to be sent to a landfill (where it will not compost or biodegrade) or shredded and burnt. If we use the term Biodegradable anywhere on the website, it requires to be commercially composted where it then biodegrades.
Widely Considered Compostable
For manufactures to have certification of compostability to EN standards they must have them tested which can cost many thousands of pounds. There is some material that is commonly known in science to be compostable such as paper, wood, card, etc. We have marked these products accordingly however we have not had certification and only using common knowledge of the material in this case.
Home compostable means that the product will compost down at lower temperatures in home compost, this will still take 12-16 weeks and require good quality and management of home compost.
We have marked products as reusable if there is an element of the product that can be reused more than once. We leave the responsibility to customers in order to assess that hygiene requirements are met for second use onwards. All our food packaging is food grade and suitable for serving food or drink once.
Not currently recyclable or compostable
These products marked with this may have very specialist recycling facilities in the UK and Europe that can accept them to be recycled, however, the recycling rates are very low and so we have marked them as not recyclable or compostable to give a real-world description of the material.
Descriptive Terms & What we mean
We describe our products as accurately as possible. There are 'green' or 'environmental' terms used throughout our website. Below are examples but may not be exhaustive. Our website is years old and has hundreds of thousands of pages, we make every effort to update information and descriptions to make it as accurate as possible:
What it means when we use these terms
When we use these terms for a product, it means that the product is either
- Recyclable, widely considered compostable or commercially compostable and biodegradable within the UK, see above for descriptions.
- Made in the UK or Europe and therefore has a lower carbon footprint than production in Middle East, Asia or Americas.
- Produced by manufacture that has 'environmental' credentials and shows continued efforts in a reduction in carbon footprint through its production and business processes
- Lightweight or compact, which requires reduced transportation which in turn reduces the number of carbon emissions required for the product to be delivered
- Materials are made of recycled content or certified sustainable sources