If the way we do anything is the way we do everything, this New Zealand-based start-up wants us to do it all with a little less guilt. We talk to the founder of Compostic, Jonathan Reed, about compostable home products, playing the long game and taking matters into his own hands.
Ideas generate from myriad places – perhaps a light bulb flash of genius strikes on a morning run, or an observation during a discussion with friends spurs new ways of thinking. And then there are ideas born of necessity, a solution is required urgently and there’s no time to waste stalling. The latter is how, three years ago, New Zealand-based consultant Jonathan Reed conceived Compostic; an innovative brand of compostable and recyclable home products. “Like most people, I became aware of the damage plastic bags were causing to our environment and so started researching alternatives, and that’s how we discovered these incredible materials,” he explains. An alarming statistic first compelled Reed to get to work. “[New Zealand uses] enough cling wrap each year to wrap the world three times. And that’s in a country of five million people, out of seven billion worldwide. No one else was taking care of this, so I decided I would take matters into my own hands.”
We’re no strangers to a little (or lot of) greenwash marketing, but coupled with a general lack of mandatory eco-regulation it can be difficult as a consumer to decipher which brands are actually doing the planet any good. In the case of Compostic, the proof is in the product: third party-certified cling wrap and resealable bags, manufactured from biopolymers that include plant waste, which can be disposed of after use in your personal compost bin (or at a commercial compost facility). The average break down period? Between 12 to 24 weeks – an instant in comparison to conventional plastic, which can take hundreds and hundreds of years to degrade. And with price points floating just a few dollars higher than plastic cling wrap counterparts, Reed is hedging his bets that it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. “We believe that people will be willing to spend an extra two or three dollars every few months to make their own little contribution and stave off their guilt,” he says. “Especially those with kids – kids are so aware of what is going on in the world these days, and they are demanding change. With Compostic they can see the effort their parents are putting in to make those changes in their own home.”
The current urgency for environmental reform is unprecedented, and for Compostic it’s all about the long game. “We felt like we were ready to launch in February last year, and ended up launching in December instead,” Reed explains. “The plan is to go global, starting with Australia and the US, and moving on to Europe and beyond. We aim to follow where there is demand at first, and then provide education to create demand where there may not be as much awareness just yet.”