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.
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 Vice President of Sustainability at if you have any additional questions about our products’ sustainability features and alignment with your community’s environmental standards.
What materials does Better Earth use for its compostable products?
Sourcing hyper-renewable, regenerative, and sustainable materials is paramount for us. We also strive for organic and non-GMO options wherever feasible. Please refer below for more information on the environmental profiles of our most popular substrates.
Better Earth utilizes three key materials: rapidly renewable plant fibers, sustainably sourced paper, and a bioplastic called PLA (Polylactic Acid).
Our Sugarcane collection is made from the byproduct of the sugar extraction process that would otherwise be landfilled or incinerated. Bamboo, one of our most popular substrates, is hyper-renewable and grows up to three feet per day. Switchgrass and miscanthus are some of the native perennial grasses that make up our domestic Farmer’s Fiber Collection. They are powerful soil regenerators. After being planted, they will continue to grow, be harvested, and nourish the soil for more than 20 years.
Are your items edible?
No, they are not meant for consumption. Consult a doctor if ingested.
Are there concerns for corn allergies with your products?
The processing alters the chemical structure of the corn, eliminating allergic concerns.
Are the products gluten-free?
Yes, our items are gluten-free.
Is the corn in Ingeo™ PLA GMO-free?
The corn is a mix of non-GMO and GMO. Processing removes any traces of genetic material. We strive to reduce dependence on petroleum-based products and hope to shift entirely to non-GMO in the future.
What is the difference between your fiber lines?
Each of our fiber lines has a unique aesthetic and performance profile.
Our plant fiber products are primarily derived from bamboo, sugarcane bagasse, miscanthus, switchgrass, and sorghum.
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.
Plant fiber items can handle up to 450°F. They’re microwave-safe for up to 2-3/4 minutes (unlined) and 5-3/4 minutes (lined). Always test in your specific conditions.
Are Better Earth’s products validated for their compostability?
Better Earth’s products are validated for their compostability by globally recognized organizations such as the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), TÜV Austria, and the Compost Manufacturing Alliance (CMA). This means that you can be confident that Better Earth products will break down completely into organic matter in a commercial composting facility. Please refer below for Better Earth’s member profile and associated certified products with each certifying body:
What’s the identifier for compostable versus regular products?
While traditional plastics usually bear resin codes #1-6, our compostable items are considered #7. However, for clarity, Better Earth bioplastics are distinctly marked “compostable” and/or bear the BPI Certified stamp.
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:
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 currently 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.
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 should items made of PLA be stored?
Store PLA products in a location with temperatures under 110°F and shield them from direct sun exposure.
How long does it take for your products to compost?
All Better Earth products are third-party certified to break down in a commercial or municipal composting facility within 90-180 days or less. There is still not a viable American home compostability certification, but Better Earth looks forward to verifying applicable products under this standard once available.
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?
Composting is the natural degradation of organic matter by microorganisms, producing nutrient-rich soil. Composting can happen at a small scale through home and backyard composting methods, or at a large scale via commercial composting facilities.
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.
Labels can be misleading. When purchasing compostable products, always look for the words “certified compostable,” “OK Compost,” “BPI-certified,” or “meets ASTM-D6400 standard.”
What is the difference between biodegradable and compostable packaging?
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?
Contact your local waste management or check the Find a Composter site and ensure the facility accepts compostable items. 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.
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.
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.
What type of paper is used in your products?
Our hot cups, hot and cold containers, and Better Collection are made with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) certified sustainably harvested paper.
Can I recycle your products?
Better Earth 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).
How should I dispose of compostable items?
Better Earth compostable packaging should be sent to a commercial composting facility. If unavailable, please dispose of Better Earth packaging in the landfill, and join the conversation to advocate for composting in your city.
Why use compostable products if not accepted at my compost facility?
Yes! Unlike petroleum-based plastic or Styrofoam products, compostable products are comprised of hyper-renewable raw materials like bamboo and wheatgrass, as well as the waste products of renewable raw materials like sugarcane bagasse, that naturally sequester carbon through the agricultural process. 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 than alternatives made from fossil fuels.
What’s the scoop on PLA?
Polylactic acid, or PLA, is a bio-based plastic that is typically made from fermented plant starch such as corn, cassava, sugarcane, or sugar beet pulp. It’s fashioned by transforming sugars from these plants into lactic acid, which is then made into polymer form. When compared to conventional plastics, PLA has a lower environmental footprint. Store PLA products below 110°F and away from direct sunlight.
Can I use PLA products for hot food or liquids?
How do bioplastics from Better Earth compare with regular plastics?
Better Earth bioplastics look, feel, and perform like petroleum-based plastic but are made entirely from plants. Typical petroleum-based plastics are highly dependent on fossil fuels, have very low levels of recyclability, and persist within our environment and food supply as microplastics. Alternatively, Better Earth bioplastics are born from renewable plant-based resources and break down completely in a commercial composting facility in 90-180 days or less.
Where are Better Earth’s offerings manufactured?
Better Earth has a diversified international supply chain to ensure quality and resilience for our customers. Better Earth’s primary manufacturing hubs are in Asia due to its robust existing infrastructure capabilities for compostable packaging. However, Better Earth is proud to offer our domestic Farmers Fiber Collection as part of our initiative to directly invest in expanding domestic manufacturing capabilities in the United States, with the goal of sourcing 50% domestic by 2025.
What’s the expected shelf life of Better Earth’s products?
Life expectancy varies based on product type:
To maximize longevity, keep in a cool, moisture-free environment.
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.
Compostable items break down at about the same rate as other biodegradable materials in landfills, such as paper and organic waste. This is because landfills are typically low in oxygen, a key component of the composting process, which slows down the overall decomposition process. We encourage our customers to be skeptical of any products that claim to biodegrade or “compost” quickly in a landfill setting.
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.
What makes Better Earth products preferable to conventional alternatives?
Better Earth products are plant-based, compostable, and made from naturally renewable resources, making them a more sustainable choice than conventional plastic products.
In contrast, conventional plastic products are typically made from non-renewable petroleum and can take hundreds or even thousands of years to decompose. This means they can end up in landfills or persist within our environment as microplastics and release harmful chemicals into the soil and water.
Are your products packaged in biodegradable or recyclable materials?
Better Earth products are packaged in clear sleeves within corrugate cardboard boxes.
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.
Can I customize your packaging with my company logo, sustainability messaging or other custom graphics? Do you do custom branding?
Yes! Yes, custom branding is available on our clamshells, fiber bowl lids, Better Box, 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 6 weeks.
How can I obtain pricing?
Need a quote? Contact your local broker or for more information.
What is your lead time for standard orders?
General packaging products usually ship within 10 business days of order confirmation unless notified. Domestic Custom Print Items have a lead time of six weeks upon approval of the orders. Overseas Custom Print Items have a lead time of 10-12 weeks.