Different Packaging, Different Decomposition Times

Sipping a cool drink with a straw – that takes barely an hour, depending on your thirst and mood. But it can take 200 years for a plastic straw to decompose. The good news: there are alternatives. A comparison of some materials.

Bagasse packaging

Bagasse is a waste product left over from the extraction of juice from sugar cane.

Bagasse Packaging Bamboo

It accounts for approx. 30% of the total weight of sugar cane.

Bagasse Packaging Bamboo 2

Bagasse packaging benefits

Benefits Bagasse

* Can be composted at home or industrially. Breaks down within 4 weeks under the right conditions.

Focus area ‘Packaging and plastic'

METRO offers to-go packaging made from, among others, bagasse, paper, wood, bamboo or palm leaf as well as alutrays (not renewable but the most valuable material to recycle), rPET and PLA. At the same time, METRO aims to reduce the environmental impact of the packaging of own-brand products during the entire life cycle while ensuring that we meet the high quality and hygiene standards our customers expect. ‘Packaging and plastic’ is one of METRO’s CR focus areas.

Sources: ScienceDirect, ecopack

How long does it take for packaging to biodegrade?

More than 15 million tonnes of styrofoam are produced every year but the material is not environmentally friendly.


Packaging Styrofoam

does not biodegrade


Packaging Bagasse

up to minimum 90% in 120 days

Sources: GlobalData, METRO, welt.de

How long does it take for single-use cutlery to biodegrade?

Cutlery made from …




How long does it take to biodegrade?

approx. 80 days

4 months to 3 years


Sources: eco-gecko.com, thebamandboo.com

Paper vs plastic straws

Time to decompose:

Paper straw

Paper Straw

Source: Rubicon

Plastic straw

Paper vs Plastic

How many times can they be recycled?





How many Times can They be Recycled?

Source: Auckland Council

METRO Plastic Initiative

One initiative with which METRO wants to contribute to sustainable change is the METRO Plastic Initiative. The 3 pillars of the METRO Plastic Initiative are the prevention of ocean plastic together with the Plastic Bank, the reduction of plastic in packaging and more conscious purchasing and recycling decisions among customers. The cooperation launched on World Oceans Day 2021 aims to prevent around 65 million plastic bottles from entering the oceans in the first place in the following 12 months. To achieve this, around 1.3 million kilos of plastic waste are to be collected at the source – on land. At the same time, communities living in poverty in coastal regions are to be supported. More: metro-wholesale.com/be-sustainable/metro-plastic-initiative

Further articles