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Compostable Packaging

     We are very earth conscious.  At home, we only buy what we need and what our “stuff” comes in is important.  Our recycling always weighs more than the garbage.  Kitchen scraps go into the compost pile and so do the packages we pack our herbs in.

     Your herbs are packaged in a heat sealed pouch that is 100% plant based and compostable.  The exterior of the pouch is made with unbleached kraft paper.  The interior is plastic and there is a plastic window on the front.  Now, you’d think with us being earth friendly we must be nuts to use packaging that contains plastic.  We spent a lot of time researching packaging for an environmentally friendly package.  We’d like to share with you the results of our research with you.

What is bioplastic?

     The plastic is thermoplastic polymer called Polylactic Acid, or PLA.  It’s a bioplastic derived from lactic acids found in renewable plant resources like corn starch and sugar cane.  The basic lactic acid chemical formula is C3H6O3.  Does that look a little familiar from a past botany class?  How about, plants produce their own food in a form of a carbohydrate or sugar and its chemical formula is C6H12O6. 

What is kraft paper?

     What about the kraft paper?  Well, we have to package our herbs in something.  Kraft paper is produced using a sodium sulfide and sodium hydroxide solution to separate the cellulose (paper pulp) from the lignin’s (which doesn’t make good paper pulp.) Both of these chemicals are cleaned and recycled for multiple processes.  The by-products of the process creates tall oil and turpentine which are used in other industrial processes so it’s not wasted (or shouldn’t be).  Kraft paper is also unbleached.  (If you still use bleach to clean please consider Borax and Washing Soda as alternatives.)  The process of making kraft paper allows bamboo and pine to be processed into paper as well.  Our supplier does not know if bamboo is used in production of the kraft paper they use.

     We print the “label” directly on the package.  This saves paper by not using labels.  No, we aren’t using soy ink yet as we’ve not found a compatible soy ink cartridge.  But, we said yet so, we’re still looking.

     While the cost is a bit more than petroleum polymer plastic packages, once you add the cost for labels it’s about the same.  Besides, what is the cost of adding another .25 ounces of plastic to the landfill that will never turn back into an organic material?  If we were to ship only 100 herb packets a month that would be 1 pound 9 ounces of trash if we used cheaper petroleum based plastics.

How do I compost the package?

     Your package is 100% plant based.  We do not suggest you eat your packaging, though it would be high in fiber.  We do suggest composting it as it is 100% compostable.  PLA plastics typically breakdown in 6-12 months under perfect mulch pile conditions.  To improve the compost-ability we suggest cutting the package sides and bottom off, then cut the remainder into thin 1/8” or 1/4” strips then again into squares. Finally, Separate the pieces. This increases exposure of the surfaces to the decomposition environment.

     We compost all our “oops” packages. Bags that are not cut down take over 12 months to decompose. we’ve begun running the bags through a paper shredder before adding them to the compost pile.

Enjoy your herbs and feed your garden when you’re done. 

     Thank you for choosing Hermits’ Cupboard for your herbs and spiritual tools.  We hope you appreciate that we do our best to be an earth friendly partner.

Rev. Lloyd

Rev. Lloyd, along with his husband Joe, owns and operates Hermits' Cupboard. He holds a Masters of Divinity, Bachelors of Metaphysical Science and is a Journeyman Herbalist having studied under the late Master Herbalist Rev. Paul Beyerl. He practices a solitary Druid-Craft based on his Scots-Irish heritage. Rev. Lloyd is actively working on his PhD. which addresses meeting the spiritual and social needs of restored Pagan's who are reentering society after incarceration.

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