Compostable Packaging Test: Whole Foods Deli Containers

by , 08/05/10

whole foods compostable container, whole foods biodegradable container, whole foods deli carton, deli cartons, compostable deli containers, compostable take out container, biodegradable take-out container, sustainable design, green design, whole foods, biodegradable packaging, eco design, packaging waste, environmentally-friendly packaging, take-out containers

DAY 19

Three weeks into an admittedly hot and wet summer (which aids biodegradability), the box was almost unrecognizable.

Ashley told me that she is not at liberty to detail the cost of the containers or the company that makes them. I’d really love to know how much more they cost vs. the traditional plastic ‘clamshells’ one normally finds at salad bars. It would also be worth doing a cost/benefit analysis of the energy needed to create the natural fiber box versus a plastic one. They are testing out these containers in the meat department of some of their markets and may use them in other applications in the future.

At least one hurdle has been jumped; these containers are proof that we can have real-life compostability and keep food fresh and leak-free.

+ PACKAGING THE FUTURE with Starre Vartan

+ Green packaging solutions

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick and author of The Eco-Chick Guide to Life (St. Martin’s Press). A green living expert, she contributes to The Huffington Post and Mother Nature Network (

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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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