Recyclables or Compostables - does it have to be a compromise?

Leisure & Smart


Posted: December 1, 2020

In the search for a suitable, environmentally-friendly alternative, the terms compostable and recyclable are frequently encountered. Companies are moving towards a circular economy, with the objective to purchase product alternatives for plastic that consist of renewable raw materials that can be reused, recycled, or composted at the end of the life cycle.

In the following blog, we would like to discuss the different possibilities and highlight the advantages of each option. However, we can anticipate one thing – we have developed a product innovation that makes a decision unnecessary.



The Plastic Challenge

Many companies try to find alternatives for plastic in their approach to act more sustainable. Unfortunately, some materials are not as simple to be replaced due to specific product requirements.

Washable or transparent packaging solutions for example pose a particular challenge and cannot easily be substituted with a different material.

Before we get started on the question, what kind of material delivers the most sustainable outcome, let’s take a look at the different terms.



Recycling has the objective to reuse already existing products instead of using virgin materials to produce new items. It describes the process of recovering plastic waste to reprocess it into useful new products. This procedure helps to conserve limited resources and reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills. Unfortunately, materials that can be recycled are usually fossil-based.

The problem with fossil fuels, also called non-renewables, is that they are formed from fossilized remains of plants and animals that lived million of years ago. Due to their origin, fossil fuels like oil or natural gas have a high carbon content. If we burn fossil fuels and release their energy, we release carbon dioxide, which is harmful for the atmosphere.

Key Facts Recyclables

  • Advantages – Reduction of resources and waste
  • Problem – Fossil-based source



However, unlike common recyclable materials, compostables are made out of renewable raw materials, which are not fossil, but plant-based.

They are made from renewable energy sources, from organic materials like agricultural crops or special plants. If the energy of plant-based sources will be released into the atmosphere, the carbon that goes in is already a part of our climate. Therefore, we release green energy that does not contribute to climate change.

Compostable materials require special composting conditions to transform organic material into compost. If done right, the material breaks down into nutrient-rich soil due to microbes that consume its particles. The process takes up to 90 days. Rotable applications like service trays or cups and bowls are usually too thick for composting within 90 days. Using compostable products only will result in the growth of waste in the end. That’s why the circular economy is looking at recyclability rather than composability for the end of life of the products.

However, the issue is: Plant-based materials usually are not recyclable!

Key Facts Recyclables

  • Advantage – Non-fossil source
  • Problem – Can’t be recycled

TO SUM UP – Until now, we always had to make a compromise on sustainability, choosing one of the two options.


InnoWin: The most sustainable solution for plastic catering equipment



At SPIRIANT, we developed a unique and innovative solution to combine the benefits of both properties in one material: InnoWin. Until now if using plastic for airline catering products, you only could benefit either from the recyclability of fossil-based materials or from the non-fossil source of compostable materials. Being a universal sustainable material, InnoWin is unique on the airline catering market. Don’t miss a detailed explanation video here.

InnoWin can be recycled using plant-based materials and has the same chemical structure as materials out of oil-based sources. Some types of InnoWin can even be recycled together with other materials using a bigger infrastructure, which makes InnoWin also economically sustainable. Because InnoWin’s original plant material naturally consumes the atmosphere’s CO2.

So, even if an InnoWin product will be incinerated at the end of its life cycle, it will not add any CO2 to the atmosphere because of its plant-based material source. These plants naturally consume the atmosphere’s CO2 in the first place. Therefore, InnoWin does not contribute to global warming.

An additional advantage of InnoWin is its nuanced color capabilities. InnoWin can be colored in shiny bright as well as in deep dark tones. The range of possibilities is manifold.


  • Bio-based & recyclable
  • Emission friendly
  • Food safe
  • Dishwasher proof (reusables)
  • Transparent or translucent (disposables)
  • Innovative material
  • Customizable colors


Get in touch

At SPIRIANT, we use our expertise in inflight equipment to develop materials that are perfectly tailored to your specific products. So you can make sure that your airline catering equipment is completely sustainable, without any compromise on quality, whether you use non-plastic or plastic materials! We enable conscious travel. Let’s use this innovation and win the game of sustainability – together!

Are you still looking for an environmentally friendly alternative? Please get in contact at and visit us here for more information. We look forward hearing from you!

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