Glossary of Terms
Where you see a reference to sustainable sourcing on this website, it means the product has been made with materials from managed and regulated forests – and can show a clear custody chain from tree to table. Sustainable packaging helps to control the depletion of natural resources and minimise the negative ecological impact to the planet. This term is often used when talking about board and paper products, carbon neutrality or certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).
A biodegradable product is one that can be broken down by microbial activity into natural constituents – usually in warm conditions, but not in the ocean. There’s no time limit to the process, which can vary from months to years.
This is a biodegradable material that degrades into small biomass fragments within 12 weeks – this is usually done at industrial composting facilities to ensure end-waste products are managed appropriately. Compostable products include sugarcane, board or certain bioplastics.
A recyclable product is made from materials that can be specially processed and re-made into another item – these include glass, aluminium and paper. PET is widely recyclable and often used to make clear salad bowls – however, PET products must be kept separate from biodegradable plastics to avoid contamination.
Some materials, such as PP, can naturally withstand higher temperatures without deforming. PP isn’t widely recycled in the UK, but contains 40% natural minerals to improve stability and reduce the amount of plastic used in the manufacturing. The high temperature threshold and strength makes PP perfect for microwaving or for holding hot wet products or sauces.