Figaro's Blog

April 20, 2023

Finding Our Way to Better Packaging: PLA-Lined Paper Bags and How to Dispose of Them Responsibly

Featured image for “Finding Our Way to Better Packaging: PLA-Lined Paper Bags and How to Dispose of Them Responsibly”

As a business, Figaro’s Garden is committed to reducing our environmental impact. But when we began exploring how we could reduce waste by eliminating single-use plastics in our packaging, we quickly realized that there are no simple solutions. (Even seemingly environmentally friendly containers such as glass jars have a detrimental impact during manufacturing!) We spent some time getting lost in the sea of regulations, product specs, and research papers.

After finding our way to what we hope is the shore, we decided to launch our waste-free growing line, which includes fertilizers, potting soils, amendments, and bird feed packaged in recycled paper, returnable glass, and compostable burlap.

Our new packaging

Liquid fertilizers (organic fish and all-purpose organic with kelp) are sold in refillable glass jars, while outdoor soils will be packaged in compostable burlap bags.

The rest—dry fertilizers, amendments, bird feed and potting soils—are packaged in 100% recycled paper bags. Because many of these products—such as our specialty potting blends, worm castings, or perlite—contain moisture or are too dusty to package in burlap, we needed something more durable. After extensive research, we decided to go with 100% recycled paper bags lined with polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable material that strengthens and improves the durability of the bag.

Fine print on a compostable paper bag

Despite indicating that it is compostable, PLA-lined bags are not accepted in Vancouver green bins. Please responsibly dispose of them in the trash.

Why we decided to use PLA

PLA is derived from renewable resources like cornstarch and sugar cane, and is considered a more eco-friendly option than petroleum-based plastics. But PLA is not without its own environmental concerns. One of the main issues with PLA is that it only break down properly in industrial composting facilities. Going this route was a tough compromise for us because, while PLA is compostable in many jurisdictions, it is not yet accepted in Vancouver’s green bin program. We ask that you responsibly dispose of these bags by placing them in the trash.

We recognize that PLA-lined bags aren’t a perfect solution. Unfortunately, they remain the best available right now, and we feel they’re still an improvement over plastic. We’ll continue to seek ways to reduce waste wherever possible, whether through responsible purchasing decisions or by switching to eco-friendly alternatives when available.


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Whether you're an experienced horticulturist, or looking for your first plant, our team at Figaro's Garden is excited to help you realize your plant and garden dreams. Contact us today or stop by the shop to see what's in-store.

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