The Better Packing CO- comPOST packs Black Dirt Bags

overall rating:



Sarah Kern
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I think that The Better Packing Co found a huge issue in the shipping industry (waste) and decided to develop a wonderful alternative for the everyday consumer. Now, millions of tons of non-recyclable plastic bags can be replaced by these bags that can be composted at home and turned back into the dirt in a few short months. The company is transparent about the deficiency of one of their ingredients that is petroleum-based but is also clear about their intentions of finding a new ingredient that will both be cleaner and biodegrade faster. I admire their commitment to being as sustainable and transparent as possible, but there are definitely a few small changes that they could make before they earn 3 full planets. Firstly, they must find an alternative to PBAT, which they have pledged to do already. I would also love to see their mission expand beyond environmental service and into supporting human rights groups. This company is extremely transparent in places that emphasize its sustainability and passion for environmentalism, but I would love to see a little more effort in expanding beyond composting and into other areas of community service.

What it's made of:


The Better Packing Co is extremely transparent about what goes into these Black Dirt Bags. On the actual page, it states that they are “a certified home compostable, fully biodegradable mailing satchel made from plants”. That sounded slightly vague, so I went to the link at the bottom of the page for the FAQ so that I could learn more. It openly stated that they are made of three ingredients; cornstarch (from unusable corn), PLA (Polylactide, which is a combination of waste corn and other plants), and PBAT (Polybutyrate Adipate Terephthalate). All of those big words were really intimidating, but the website encouraged me to click another link to learn more about them; talk about transparency! PLA is super sustainable, but PBAT does contain oil in it and The Better Packing Co talks about their pursuit of finding another option to replace that small amount of non-renewable presence in the bag. However, they do point out that corn cobs take even longer to biodegrade than the PBAT in the packaging because PBAT is engineered to biodegrade efficiently. It sounds to me like this product is well on its way to becoming completely renewable once a replacement is found, and that The Better Packing Co is on the hunt.

How it's made:


Most plastic and biodegradable shipping packs are made in a process called blown film extrusion. This is when the ingredients mentioned above are melted together and turned into a resin that can be molded. Then, compressed air is blown into this fusion to specific inflation levels to create different sized bags, and they are cooled before the label is printed on. This is the general process for plastic mailing bags because there was not any information found on the Better Packing Co website about specifics of how their bags are made. A lack of transparency is never good… but the company is very clear about the ingredients going into this resin. PLA and PBAT are made of plastics that require extra effort to sort in recycling plants and are manufactured in facilities where they require transportation to and from.
Overall, acquiring these materials may not be the most sustainable process, but using them to create biodegradable shipping bags saves energy and resources in the long run. These comPOST range bags are certifiably able to be composted at home, which makes the end of their life cycle accessible to those who have access to a composting bin. If you cannot compost at home, have no fear; the founders created an extensive collection network to make sure that their products make it back to where they belong: the Earth. They provide resources to connect you with neighbors who compost and even other businesses near your place of work.

Who makes it:


The Better Packing Co is a company devoted to treating people and the environment with compassion. They are committed to reducing their carbon footprint; in 2020, they became BCorp certified, meaning that they are verified to hold themselves to the highest environmental, social, and legal standards. Go Better Packing Co! They also offset their carbon outputs by 120% to ensure that they are creating a positive impact on the environment, mostly through projects that grow and protect Indigenous forests across the Pacific through the Eden Reforestation Products (check out Alexandra Nikolin’s review on Eden Reforestation Projects!). In the manufacturing process, their regulatory certifications, REACH and RoHS, assert that they protect their workers from exposure to and restrict the usage of harmful substances. Looks like they have an eye out for the health and wellbeing of their employees, which is always a plus!
The company is founded by two incredible women, Rebecca and Kate, who prioritize environmental justice and accessibility. While their products are oriented towards sustainability, they also have a page called “Better Friends” where they promote other brands with similar missions, essentially creating a community of certifiably sustainable companies. As a woman, I would like to see the co-founders band together with organizations supporting women's rights and human rights initiatives, but I do understand that their product is deeply rooted in sustainability and that is where their current priorities lie as they build their brand.