UK-based sustainability charity WRAP has released new guidelines on compostable plastic packaging to help businesses make informed decisions when considering introducing it.

In a document released today, WRAP highlights key applications and opportunities for compostable packaging based on the products and infrastructures available today. These include food caddy liners, tea bags, ready meal trays, fruit stickers and closed-loop situations like festivals, provided the appropriate labelling, design and instructions are in place.

WRAP strategic engagement manager Helen Bird said: “There are certain applications where it can be a helpful alternative to conventional plastics; absolute no-brainers include fruit stickers and tea bags. This new guidance will help steer decision-making on this complex and high-profile topic.”

WRAP issued recommendations on how to communicate with consumers regarding the appropriate disposal of compostable plastic packaging. The charity stressed the importance of explaining whether items can be composted at home and not to put them in the conventional recycling bin.

“Businesses need to be clear on when it is viable, given the complexities surrounding current treatment infrastructure. When it comes to recyclability, WRAP is clear that a claim of ‘recyclable’ should only be made if it can be recycled in practice. The same should be applied to compostable plastics.

“And it is critical that end markets for recycled plastics are not compromised; people need clear instruction not to place compostable plastics in the recycling bin,” added Bird.

WRAP will launch an informational campaign on plastics in March.