We’ve recently learned that for customers from California and Washington, the labeling on our biodegradable mailers are not consistent with the municipal recycling program guidelines.
To be fully transparent, both Washington state law and California state law prohibit the use of terms that imply plastic materials will break down in a benign manner in the environment. Specifically, both laws state that a person shall not sell “a plastic product that is labeled with the term "biodegradable," "degradable," "decomposable," "oxo-degradable," or any similar form of those terms, or in any way imply that the plastic product will break down, fragment, biodegrade, or decompose in a landfill or other environment.”
Since our mailer bags are made by adding the agent D2W into the mix of conventional plastics to help speed up the breakdown process (from decades to roughly 2 years), they are still classified as plastics by the 2 states above. As a result, we need to change the wording on our packaging to conform to these requirements.
I would like to stress the following:
Does this mean that this material is not allowed to be sold in the two states?
The answer is no. Our mailers have never been “banned” from the states of California and Washington. We are only required to change the wording to conform with the recycling guidelines
Does this mean that the D2W material is not eco-friendly like we said it is?
We fully stand by our claims, and we have also been sharing the exact process since day one. If anything, the material that breaks down after ~2 years cannot be any less eco-friendly than the poly mailers that are made of 100% plastics. In fact, we have just published our first YouTube video to explain this process.
Although we understand the requirements, I have to admit that I’m rather disappointed, as it is rather a blanket requirement that overlooked a holistic view of the whole recycling process. We wrote a detailed article here to explain why one should consider the whole lifecycle of the material, and not just solely the choice of material alone.
To sum up, and to answer some questions a few people have been asking us:
- We have started to reprint our designs with a revised message on how to dispose of the mailers. However, this cannot all happen over one batch. As the cost of making a new mold for each print quickly adds up, and we’re still a small business, we have to spread this out over a couple of inventory purchase orders.
- The first two prints are Midnight Galaxy and Celestial Tan in 10x13, which will have the new disposal info.
- When the new & revised prints are out, we’ll make them available to purchase for people from California & Washington. ETA is September 2023.
- Our mission has always been to address the negative impact of single-use packaging waste. Therefore, we have been working hard to introduce new packaging solutions such as paper-padded mailers, and paper boxes (which we believe will be a game changer for a lot of small businesses.
We understand this will be a big inconvenience for many of our customers, but we hope you understand our decision and will continue supporting us.
As soon as our new batch of mailers (which will fully conform to the requirements mentioned above) become available, I will start sending out emails to inform our customers from California and Washington.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss further on this topic, or anything packaging related, please don’t hesitate to reply to this email, or reach out to us on social.
Thank you SO MUCH!
Duy & the rest of the Impack team