Compostable Packaging Test: Whole Foods Deli Containers

by , 08/05/10

Today marks the second installment of our new Packaging the Future series, which explores a greener future for packaging design, brought to you by Eco Chick founder and green journalist Starre Vartan!

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Because I’ve heard mixed messages about the compostability of packaging labelled biodegradable, I figured the only way to figure out what works and what doesn’t is to stop listening to rumors and try them out myself. My first experiment was with a Whole Foods deli container, simply because it was at hand; I shop at the supermarket in both Manhattan and in Darien, CT where the chain has recently opened its newest store. In an ideal world, I would make my own pasta, bean and whole grain salads every Sunday and store them in reusable containers for the week. In reality, I’m not the world’s most enthusiastic cook and I regularly buy the salad-bar concoctions so that I have healthy, fresh food when I come home hungry at 9pm at night.

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  1. Compostable Packaging T... November 13, 2010 at 11:01 am

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  2. GCV November 11, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Plastic food containers are not recyclable in New York City. BeGreen’s fiber containers are not only compostable, but recyclable anywhere and hold up well to sauce heavy foods.

    FYI…most sustainable fiber wares are made in China…due to a country wide styrofoam ban, their factories are ahead of the game.

    We proudly carry BeGreen Packaging and ship nationwide.

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  6. eva_begreen August 10, 2010 at 11:08 am


    I found your article online. I work for Be Green Packaging, the company that manufactures these containers. We manufacture well-designed, high quality, industrial and food-grade, tree-free, GMO free, compostable packaging.

    Our products can be found in various departments of Whole Foods Markets such as deli (sushi), meat, poulty, retail, and the salad bar. Our products are easy to recognize on the shelf as they are all the same natural brown color as the one’s you used for your composting experiment.

    We try to be price neutral with plastic and polystyrene products.

    We appreciate you taking the time to test the compostability of our products and write about them! We would also like to let you know that Ashley from Whole Foods Market must have been misinformed. Our products do not contain bagasse, corn starch, tapioca root, or asaparagus! They do contain bulrush and bamboo however.

    Our mission is on par with yours and we hope to help rid the packaging industry of single use, non-renewable (petroleum) based, non-recyclable and non-compostable containers.

    For more information about Be Green Packaging LLC, please visit our website at:

    You can also email us at:

    Thanks again for your interest and enthusiasm for compostable packaging!

  7. pauli August 7, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Plastic is less expensive. And recyclable.

    Molded fiber (bagasse, bamboo, rice husk, etc.) is bidegradable & compostable…but not necessarily recyclable. However, exposure to sunlight, moisture, and soil will rapidly convert these containers into humus. It\’s good stuff! But made in China.

  8. Starre Vartan August 5, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    There’s def a difference between a hot compost, or a commercial composting facility and what happens in the random backyard composting bin (especially mine! which is a bit haphazard). In my mind, all packages should eventually break down even without commercial composting since there’s so much litter (which would be reduced if it broke down naturally) and would also solve the problem of the Garbage Gyres- if packaging biodegraded it wouldn’t be choking the ocean and our waterways as it does now.

  9. Andrew Michler August 5, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Cool test- I tried the same with the Sun Chips ‘compostable’ bag in my heap for weeks but without similar results. It still looked like a chip bag with out being in a hot compost bin.

  10. Diane Pham August 5, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    great! i can feel less guilty about going there for meals, instead of cooking at home!

  11. Yuka Yoneda August 5, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Always wanted to know about this – thank you!

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