Down2earth Materials are now in their 11th year supply cafes, hotels, and contract caterers across Ireland with compostable and sustainable solutions for their businesses. Currently we supply National brands such as Java Republic Coffee, Frank and Honest coffee via Musgraves, BWG foods, etc. with some of our range of materials. If you go back to 2016, PE lined coffee cups were very popular and hard to recycle, most of them end up in landfill and or incineration. Now in 2020 and looking forward to 2021 more and more compostable cups have entered the Irish market, so by switching over to a plant-based cup means you can put that cup in your food waste bin at home. It just makes sense’. John Lynch, National Account Manager & Organic Recycling Advisor at Down2Earth Materials speaks with us about his confidence in the certification his organisation recently achieved.
What was the motivation behind getting Cré Certification?
The Cré certification was desperately needed to provide clarity when it comes to biodegradable and compostable packaging. There is a European standard in place, and we have always adhered to this. There are many other suppliers outside of Europe supplying product with different logos and standards and this leads to confusion here in Ireland. The Cré symbol shows that the product is 100% compostable in Ireland and this makes it easy for everybody involved to have clarity.
We have been in this sector for over 11 years now and we know what is involved in fully compostable products. We understand that Ireland is not the same as other countries, each country has slightly different requirements therefore this certification was important to us.
What was the certification process like for you?
We used to do our own testing, it was time consuming, a drain on resources and complex. With Cré, as an independent certification body, they are set up to manage it and they do the heavy lifting. We were given clear instructions on what was required. We only need to supply them with information and product samples, there was no pressure or any delay. The independence of the certification is great, it creates a level playing field for all of us in the industry, and it ensures that what is tested will be fine for all Irish waste management sites.
What has having this certification meant for you as a business?
It raises the bar for credibility, the stamp says it all. It opens doors for us to supply our product to both large and small organisations. The Cré symbol represents approval that it will break down into compost as promised.
We supply coffee cups as part of our range. A café owner will start to now ask potential suppliers of compostable cups ‘but are they Cré certified?’ Suppliers will need to have the confidence to let their customers know that the actual cup they use will eventually turn into compost and return to the land once more. I can see the Cré symbol appearing on more products in the near future within the food industry, it just makes sense.
The consumer will recognise it soon, my customer knows it already and it is bringing big benefits.
What about consumer demand for sustainable options?
The Blue Planet programme was a milestone, it certainly helped create awareness. The public are driving the demand, the message is ‘we are done with plastic’. At Down2Earth Materials we are offering a solution that people want and in fact the planet needs. Compostable cups cut down on carbon footprint. Our message is ‘cut down on waste’ so if you must use a disposable cup, make it a compostable one.
What is the future for compostable packaging?
Compostable packaging helps the end user reduce their oil based plastic use and assists the supermarkets to meet the consumer need by offering more sustainable products. The Cré certification helps the packaging companies and the waste companies and ultimately our planet. We want to add more products to the scheme, it is a great benefit for our sales effort.
Some branded biodegradable packaging that comes from outside the EU may contain other ingredients that are not compostable. It is often confusing for the consumer who is trying to do the right thing. The Cré symbol will give clarity that consumers can place the cup in the food waste bin. The coffee cup breaks down in food waste and is turned into compost that is used to grow more plants. No waste, no shipping halfway across the world, helping the Irish economy in so many ways.
We want to thank John for taking time to speak with us about the many benefits Cré Certification has already brought to his business.