Exploring the ABA Home Compostable certification for coffee packaging

Aidan Gant
February 14, 2023
An image of compostable coffee packaging and coffee bags made from bioplastics in an article on the ABA Home Compostable certification for coffee packaging

The coffee packaging of today needs to tick several boxes in order to meet the high expectations of modern consumers.

Beyond aesthetics and its ability to preserve coffee, a growing number of consumers expect coffee bags to be ‌recyclable or compostable.

Compostable packaging and bioplastics are just some of the recent technological advancements that can help a business reduce its environmental impact. That said, how can you ensure customers understand

The Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) Home Compostable certification can communicate your commitment to environmental protection to customers. Furthermore, it can ensure your packaging materials have the lowest possible ecological impact.

Discover how you can benefit from an ABA Home Compostable certification for coffee packaging.

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What is the ABA Home Compostable certification?

In 2003, Australia and New Zealand saw a need for a central body to support bioplastic producers and consumers, as well as to liaise with government institutions, educators, and businesses.

Therefore, in 2005, the ABA was formed from a consortium of concerned parties. Today, the body represents some 28 members across both countries.

The ABA is an industrial body that supports and advocates for bioplastic and businesses adjacent to the bioplastic industries in Australia and New Zealand.

It is an international partner of its North American and European counterparts: the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) and European Bioplastics respectively.

The ABA works closely with the Australian composting industry, Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA), and the Organic Materials Sector Group from WasteMINZ in New Zealand to ensure the activities of bioplastic industries have a minimal impact.

The organisation supports research and innovation in lowering the impact of production and end-of-life disposal of sustainable plastics.

This includes supporting the use of an ever-widening range of renewable, plant-derived materials in the manufacture of bioplastics.

Furthermore, the ABA advocates for broadening the infrastructure for the collection and processing of bioplastic products that can no longer be reused, ensuring they are disposed of in optimal conditions.

One of the main activities of the ABA is its licensing and certification programme. They run a third-party accreditation service for businesses, allowing compliant bioplastic users to label products with the ABA Home Compostable logo.

As there are several benefits to consuming specialty grade coffee close to its roasting date, coffee packaging is an ideal candidate for compostable bioplastics.

ABA-certified compostable coffee bags are the clearest way to communicate this information to your customers in an Australasian market.

An image of the ABA Home Compostable certification logo on a compostable bag in an article on the ABA Home Compostable certification for coffee packaging

How can I get my compostable coffee packaging certified by the ABA?

Overall, the ABA runs three separate voluntary verification programmes.

They can provide accreditation for Commercial Compostable coffee packaging. This packaging requires certain industrial conditions to break down and needs to be sent to an appropriate facility for processing.

The ABA also provides accreditation for Soil Biodegradable packaging, which is deemed appropriate for compost in agricultural use.

However, the ABA’s Home Compostable Verification Programme requires materials to adhere to Australian Standard AS 5810-2010.

This states that home compostable products must reach an adequate level of disintegration and biodegradation in domestic aerobic conditions.

Essentially, consumers should be able to compost it at home without any adverse effects, undesirable chemicals, or other non-biological constituents left behind.

Notably, there are several stages involved to achieve ABA-certified compostable coffee bags. Fortunately, there is substantial guidance available on the ABA website.

First, it is important to make sure that your product is fundamentally compliant, as testing and verification are non-refundable.

Initial administration involves the submission of application documents, which are then forwarded to the independent assessor DIN CERTCO, along with product samples for verification.

Intellectual property is protected at all stages by mutual non-disclosure agreements. Furthermore, the ABA is not privy to sensitive information regarding the specific nature of innovative aspects of your business.

Once testing is complete, you only need to pay the invoice and receive the relevant licences.

Licenced businesses are then free to use the home compostable logo on their ABA-certified compostable coffee packaging.

Assessment fees for new samples can run up to around AUD 2,000 while the annual renewable licence fee is between AUD 500 and AUD 700.

Despite this cost, the associated benefits far outweigh the financial expense for many businesses.

An image of compostable coffee bag made from bioplastic  in an article on the ABA Home Compostable certification for coffee packaging

What are the benefits of ABA Home Compostable certified coffee packaging?

ABA-certified compostable coffee bags are an effective and reliable way to demonstrate your company’s eco-credentials to your customer base. 

Showing your business is prepared to spend resources to help protect the planet can give your product a competitive edge in a modern market.

Recent studies show the majority of customers are somewhat governed by environmentally conscious thinking when choosing which products to buy.

Crucially, 90% of surveyed customers in one major study claimed they would pay a premium price for sustainable products.

Ultimately, sustainable packaging is one of the main drivers of purchase intent, as well as indicated average overall spending.

This should place sustainability firmly at the forefront of the requirements of your packaging alongside its protective properties and the marketability and aesthetic of your coffee bag design.

More importantly, compostable certified coffee bags can help your business achieve other accreditations.

One such certification is the internationally recognised B-Corp Certification. This certification focuses on a business’s overall environmental and social impacts.

ABA-certified compostable coffee packaging will help demonstrate eco-responsibility in their impact evaluations.

Compostable bioplastic packaging can be one of the best ways to lower the overall carbon footprint of your operations.

Bioplastics produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions during their initial manufacture than traditional plastics.

Additionally, the plant materials from which they are derived essentially offset their own future carbon output by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere throughout their life cycle.

Like many within the specialty sector, MTPak Coffee is dedicated to securing the future of coffee and is available to help you get your coffee packaging certified.

We also offer a selection of completely recyclable coffee packaging alternatives produced from renewable resources like kraft paper, rice paper, or multilayer LDPE packaging with an eco-friendly PLA lining, all of which reduce waste and support a circular economy.

Our range of sustainable packaging solutions aligns with ABA Home Compostable certification and other environmentally friendly certifications.

We offer sustainable coffee packaging in a variety of shapes, including shaped pouches, stand-up bags, flat bottom pouches, quad seal bags, side gusset pouches, and drip coffee bags.

Furthermore, our range of corrugated kraft paper coffee mailer boxes is made from 100% recycled cardboard and available in a wide range of size options.

Our design team is available to help you create the ideal coffee packaging by custom-printing your design using innovative digital printing technology, with a quick turnaround time of 40-hours and 24-hour shipping time.

MTPak Coffee also offers low minimum order quantities (MOQs) to micro-roasters who are looking to remain agile while showcasing brand identity and a commitment to the environment.

For more information on coffee packaging certifications, contact our team.

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