As of March 2020, all Brave Overnight Breakfast packets are made of post-consumer recycled materials.
“Are your bags recyclable or compostable?” This is one of the top questions we get from all of you. We so appreciate this question, and we want to share more about how we make decisions about our packaging. Apologies in advance for this lengthy email but we really want you all to know how we're thinking about this.
Over the last year, we’ve studied the sustainable materials industry closely and concluded that using post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials is the best way to reduce the impact of our packaging. Although it adds costs on our end, we believe giving previously recycled plastics a second life is the right thing for our planet. When doing our research, our number one goal was to find a solution that made the most impact. We were interested in discovering the option that would truly reduce the impact of our packaging, not the option that would sound the best from a marketing perspective. Here’s why we didn’t end up going with bags that can be recycled or composted (spoiler: because they can’t really be recycled or composted):
Recyclable Bags: Current recycling centers are unable to process ‘flexible’ plastics for two primary reasons: (1) the complexity of layers in each package and (2) because they are incorrectly sorted/identified as ‘mixed paper’. This means all flexible packaging that is ‘recyclable’ must be cleaned and dropped off at designated ‘store drop-off’ locations. Unfortunately, numerous studies have shown that the majority of store drop-off recyclable materials end up directly in the trash.
Compostable Bags: We didn’t choose compostable packaging because the vast majority of residential areas cannot process compostable packaging in their ‘green bins’, and it will not sufficiently breakdown in a backyard compost pile. This means that our customers would need to make a trip to an industrial compost facility, because that is the only way to properly breakdown the materials (bioplastics need the right combination of temperature and time that only industrial facilities offer). While we know you all are committed to sustainability, but we thought asking to take trips to an industrial compost facility was too difficult of an ask and would probably have a larger carbon footprint. Further, the technology still remains prohibitively expensive and it reduces the shelf-life of the product substantially.
Using post-consumer recycled bags is the most effective way to reduce our impact right now, and we hope our switch to these materials will help push the sustainable packaging industry in the right direction. We are watching closely for the day when our recycling systems can accept flexible packaging and when compostable technology improves (or something totally new comes along!). As always, we will keep you updated as our packaging evolves.
We hope this has helped explain our decision-making on this important topic. Drop us a line anytime if you have any questions, comments, or ideas!