FAQ

Got a question? We’re here to help! Refer below for more information on our product lines, terms & conditions, sustainability commitments, and more. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Send us your questions using the contact form below.

Better Earth Products

I have never used your products before. How can I confirm they’ll perform as needed and comply with my community’s environmental standards?

We have built our reputation on producing the highest-quality compostable foodservice packaging, certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) and OK Compost, among others. Our mission is to manufacture products that are the safe and sustainable solution for cities enacting single-use plastic bans.  

To ensure our products meet your performance and sustainability needs, we invite you to request samples through your region’s broker prior to ordering. Please contact our Sustainability Director at  if you have any additional questions about our products’ sustainability features and alignment with your community’s environmental standards.  

What raw materials do you use for your products?

We use a wide range of sustainable, agriculture-based raw materials to meet our customers’ diverse performance and sustainability needs. These include sugarcane, bamboo, wheat, PLA, and FSC-certified celluloses.  

What is the difference between your three fiber lines?

Each of our fiber lines has a unique aesthetic and performance profile.  

  • Our Eco-Bamboo line is a bamboo-based fiber collection that is tan in color. Its longer fibers provide strength for holding foods with moderate moisture content. 
  • Our Sugarcane line is the most commonly seen compostable foodservice packaging material and is among the earliest in the market. It is white in color.  
  • Our Element line represents our wheat-straw collection. Like Eco-Bamboo, its longer fibers provide premium strength for foods with medium to high moisture content.  

Can I put your products in the microwave/oven/freezer?

Our products are designed to simultaneously withstand a wide variety of temperatures and break down within 90 days in a commercial composter. However, they are not designed to bare the extreme temperatures found in microwaves, ovens and freezers. We recommend heating up or freezing food-products in glassware whenever possible.  

  • Freezer: Our clamshell collections can go in the freezer but are not airtight. This means foods may be subject to freezer burn or reduced freshness. Our PLA products are also not recommended for the freezer and can become brittle when frozen.  
  • Microwave and Oven: While our hot cups, soup cups and some containers are designed to withstand high-temperatures, including boiling water, our product-line is not designed for the extreme high heat of the microwave and oven, which can cause them to warp, leak or even catch on fire.  

Are your products BPI-certified?

Yes! “BPI” stands for the Biodegradable Products Institute and is the organization behind the ubiquitous Compostable Logo. BPI-certified products that feature the Compostable logo, like Better Earth, undergo rigorous, third-party testing to verify that their products meet ASTM D6460 and/or ASTM D6868 standards (refer to “ASTM D6460” and “ASTM D6868” in our Glossary). You can always find the latest list of Better Earth certifications by visiting BPI’s website.

What are your certifications?

Our mission is to provide our customers the safe and sustainable solutions they need to meet and exceed their own environmental commitments. That’s why we’re constantly in the lab and working with industry leaders to ensure our products go beyond today’s rigorous environmental certifications and standards. For example, we test our products using the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards to ensure they break down in commercial composting facilities. These tests are then verified by several third-party organizations. Refer below for more information:  

  • Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI): BPI-certified products undergo rigorous, third-party testing to verify that their products meet ASTM D6460 and/or ASTM D6868 standards (refer to “ASTM D6460” and “ASTM D6868” in our Key Terms). You can always find the latest list of Better Earth BPI product certifications by visiting BPI’s website.
     
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): The Forest Stewardship Council is a not-for-profit organization that sets standards under which forests and companies are certified in order to meet our current needs for forest products without compromising those of the next generation. When you see the FSC label on Better Earth products, you can be assured that the forest products sourced are responsibly harvested and from verified sources.

FSC-certified Better Earth products include: 
Paper Straw Collection

Hot Beverage Collection

Hot & Cold Food Container Collection

  • OK Compost: Like BPI, Vinçotte OK Compost-certified products undergo rigorous, third-party testing to verify that the products are compostable in commercial or municipal facilities in compliance with the European Standard EN 13432. 

Samples

Can we get samples of your product offerings?

Absolutely! Please contact your local broker or distributor, or email us at for more information on our product offerings and how to submit a sample request.  

Custom Design & Printing

Can I customize your packaging with my company logo, sustainability messaging or other custom graphics? Do you do custom printing?

Yes! Yes, custom printing is available on our clamshells, hot cups, and food containers and our in-house design team is here to support you. Minimum quantities vary for production and shipping. Please contact your local broker or distributor for more information, or email us at and we will put you in touch with a local representative.  

Can you print on hot cups and food containers? What are the minimums?

Yes, we can print on single and double wall hot cups and food containers. Minimum quantities are 100,000 pieces per SKU.  

What are your print minimums for printed hinged containers? Number of colors? Lead time?

Custom printing is available in our Clarkston, GA print facility, and our in-house design team is here to support you. We have a 2-pallet minimum per print job, but this minimum can include 1 pallet of 1 size, and 1 pallet of another size. Generally, there are no limits on number of colors nor are there per-color charges. This is subject to the actual print request. The lead time is generally 5 weeks.   

Pricing & Discounts

How can I obtain pricing?

Need a quote? Contact your local broker or for more information.  

Shipping & Handling

What is your lead time for standard orders?

General packaging products usually ship within 5-8 business days. Custom Print Items have a lead time of five weeks upon approval of the order.

Ordering & Account Info

How can I purchase your products?

Thanks for your interest in Better Earth! You can ask your local distributor if they stock our products, and if not, email and we will put you in touch with a local representative.  

I am a restaurant owner and interested in your products. Can I order directly from you?

We work through distributors and brokers. Please contact your local distributor or broker, or email us at and we will put you in touch with a local representative.

Composting & Environment

Why should I buy compostable products?

Takeout orders account for around 269,000 US tons of plastic waste that has entered the oceans. According to the NOAA Ocean Service, plastic doesn’t decompose and can stick around indefinitely.  And every day, more cities, counties, states and even countries are joining the movement to ban single-use plastics in favor of sustainable alternatives like compostable and reusable products.  

Our customers purchase compostable products because they know the disposables landscape is changing and their end-users are demanding more sustainable options. At Better Earth, we help our customers meet their sustainability goals with innovative products that offer the same quality and similar performance to conventional plastic and Styrofoam.  

How long does it take for your products to compost?

Our certified-compostable products will break down in 90-180 days in a commercial or municipal composting facility. They are not suitable for backyard composting.  

Are your compostable products marine degradable?

We are happy to see so much discussion about the marine degradability of foodservice packaging and are more committed than ever to ensuring our products are the safe and sustainable solution for protecting marine life. Better Earth is advocating for a single standard to define marine degradability within the industry and supports efforts to design and produce certified marine-degradable products.  

What do you mean by "compostable"? How is this defined?

Compostable means that a product can break down into carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds and biomass in about 90 – 180 days or less with the support of aerobic microorganisms, and that the process leaves no toxicity in the soil (for more information, refer to “composting” in our Key Terms).  

Compostable products can include food scraps, paper, leaves, as well as certified-compostable foodservice packaging materials like Better Earth. The speed of degradability will vary based on the composition of the product.  

Pro tip: labels can be misleading. When purchasing compostable products, always look for the words “certified compostable,” “OK Compost,” “BPI-certified,” or “meets ASTM-D6400 standard.” 

 

Do you use genetically modified materials (“GMOs”)?

While we always try to use exactly what nature gives us and in its intended form, we do need to deviate occasionally to ensure the raw material can stand up to the process and performance required to expand the market for sustainable products. For example, the corn we use is genetically modified to have a higher sucrose content which allows for better and more consistent fermentation. 

Where can I find a commercial composter near me?

Thank you for your interest in diverting waste from landfills and enriching our soils! In fact, in 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that more than half of all municipal solid waste in landfills was compostable. Click here for more information on commercial composters in your area. 

But what if commercial composting isn’t available yet in your area? You can still transform most of your food waste and yard trimmings into nutrient-rich fertilizer using a backyard composter. Check out this Better Earth blog post to learn how to build your own backyard composter in 10 minutes or less.  

What's the big deal with styrofoam?

The world produces more than 14 million US tons of polystyrene (otherwise known as Styrofoam) each year. There are several well-known qualities that have led to its widespread usage, such as its low cost, light weight and insulation properties. However, these same benefits carry several indirect or hidden environmental and health costs.  

  • Styrofoam is made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource 
  • The chemicals used in the manufacturing process (benzene and styrene) have been identified as harmful neurotoxins and carcinogens 
  • Furthermore, Styrofoam’s lightweight and air-like qualities make it difficult and expensive to recycle, leading to Styrofoam comprising as much as 30% of total landfill volume 

Comparatively, compostable products like Better Earth are comprised of renewable, agriculture-based resources and will break down in a commercial composting facility in 90 days or less.  

Can I recycle your products?

Our compostable products are designed to efficiently break down in a commercial composting facility and are not optimized for the demands of municipal recycling facilities (or MRFs). However, we are passionate about exploring every avenue for repurposing our products, whether that’s as soil or as a post-consumer recycled product. We are currently engaged with industry leaders to research the recyclability of Better Earth products and will keep our community posted on what we find.  

What happens to your products if they end up in the landfill?

Our products are designed specifically for the environmental conditions of a commercial composting facility, which means they must have access to microorganisms, carbon, water, heat and oxygen to biodegrade within 90 days. Oxygen is especially important for breaking down organic material through a process called oxidation.  

If compostable products are placed in a landfill setting, biodegradation may occur, but much more slowly and at widely varying rates depending on the type of landfill. We encourage our customers to be skeptical of any products that claim to biodegrade or “compost” quickly in a landfill setting. 

  • If placed in an open-air landfill where oxygen is available, commercially compostable products can biodegrade at similar rates to other organic materials in the same setting. However, open-air landfills often pose anaerobic conditions (without oxygen) if overcrowded and compacted tightly.  
  • If placed in a capped landfill, the most common type in the US, compostable products will be deprived of oxygen and microorganisms and the composting process will be severely restricted. This is true for all organic material, like banana peels and yard waste, placed in this air-tight environment.  

If you do not have access to commercial composting in your area, you can still transform most of your food waste and yard trimmings into nutrient-rich fertilizer using a backyard composter. Check out this Better Earth blog post to learn how to build your own backyard composter in 10 minutes or less. If none of these options are available for you, please dispose of Better Earth products in the waste bin.  

But most importantly, we encourage you to join us in advocating for more composting infrastructure in the United States so that we can all close the loop between compostable products and their rightful home: the soil.   

Is it worth buying compostable products if my community does not offer commercial or municipal composting services?

Yes! Unlike petroleum-based plastic or Styrofoam products, compostable products are comprised of renewable raw materials like bamboo and wheatgrass, as well as the waste products of renewable raw materials like sugarcane bagasse. This means that in the undesirable scenario that our products end up in a landfill, they still have a lesser environmental footprint across their lifecycle.

Are your products packaged in biodegradable or recyclable materials?

Better Earth products are packaged in clear sleeves within corrugate cardboard boxes.
 

  • The sleeves are currently comprised of recyclable PE plastic due to recent instability in the PLA (compostable bioplastic) raw material market. We believe this instability up the supply chain could compromise our other core commitment of providing you quality products consistently and at a stable price – which is something we will not risk. Please contact your local recycling provider to confirm if they accept PE plastic film.  
  • Our corrugate cardboard boxes are just about universally recyclable. Please contact your local recycling provider to confirm where you can drop off cardboard in your area.  

Still have a question?