Stickers on fruit are not compostable. They are usually made from plastic and glue that will not break down in your compost bin or worm composting system. Stickers should be removed from fruit before putting them into your compost otherwise they will not break down.
Stickers should be placed in the garbage or look out for fruit without stickers to avoid this problem altogether.
This article will explore all you need to know about the stickers on fruit including what they are made of, if they are biodegradable and how to get rid of them safely.
What are fruit stickers made of?
Fruit stickers or any produce stickers are usually made of a plastic or vinyl with food safe glue. This means that they are food contact safe but should not be eaten. Always remove stickers before eating your fruit or vegetables and before giving them to your kids.
Fruit stickers have been around for many years and are attached to allow suppliers to track the supply chain, identify the food and for us to finally scan it at the checkout. They make life easier for suppliers and consumers but at the end they need to be disposed of.
Are fruit stickers biodegradable?
Fruit stickers are made from plastic and are not biodegradable. They should be removed before consuming the fruit and thrown in the trash that is headed for landfill. The easiest way to make sure they are removed before someone in your house eats the fruit is to remove them before putting the fruit in your fruit bowl or fridge.
Can I compost fruit stickers?
Fruit stickers should not be thrown in the compost because they are made from plastic and not biodegradable. They will hang around in your compost pile for years and can end up in your soil. Even if they are broken down partially over time, plastic particles can still remain in your soil.
Remove these tiny fruit stickers before composting to keep them out of your worm farm, compost bin and soil. Unfortunately these stickers need to end up in the bin heading to landfill.
What to do with fruit stickers at home
Here are some simple ways to deal with fruit stickers in your home so they don’t end up in the recycling, in your compost or in somebody’s mouth.
1. Peel them off before putting fruit and vegetables in your fridge
After doing your weekly (or daily) grocery shop remove the fruit stickers before putting the produce in your fridge or fruit bowl. This will ensure that someone in your house does not accidentally eat the sticker or throw the peel with the sticker in your compost bin.
Fold the sticker in half so that it no longer sticks to anything and put it in the garbage. You can create a small pile of stickers and put them all in at once or stick them to some other plastic garbage and put the whole lot in the bin.
Stickers can be annoying to get rid of and end up stuck everywhere, including on your clothes. Sticking them to some other thin plastic garbage keeps them off of you and your fruit.
2. Make a sticker board for your fridge to make it fun
If you have kids at home and want to make it fun them to get rid of stickers create some art with the stickers. Use magnets to put a piece of paper on your fridge so that kids can add their sticker to the paper as they eat fruit.
This is a fun way to collect the stickers and encourage your kids to eat more fruit.
3. Choose fruit without stickers
Look out for fruit that does not have a sticker. I am seeing more and more fruit available that does not have these stickers attached which means that you won’t have this problem. Loose bananas do not usually have stickers and most vegetables including capsicum, cucumbers, zucchini and broccoli do not have them either.
Head to your local farmers market where fruit is locally sourced and usually straight from the tree to the market. Many farmers market sellers will not bother with stickers so you won’t have to either.
If the option is there to choose fruit without stickers, opt for those and skip the problem.
Can I eat the stickers on fruit?
Produce stickers should not be eaten because they are made from synthetic plastic and are not digestible. Remove the stickers on fruit before giving them to your kids to make sure they are removed first and do the same for yourself. Removing the stickers from fruit before putting them in your fridge or fruit bowl is the best way to make sure no one in your house eats them.
Why do companies put stickers on fruit?
There are a few main reasons why companies put stickers on fruit. Check them out below.
1. To identify the fruit
Identification is the main reason why stickers are put on fruit. They can identify the type of fruit, whether or not it was organically grown and where it comes from including its country of origin. Stickers on fruit make it easy for the end supplier to see what the stock is and where it came from.
2. To track it through the supply chain
Stickers are an easy way for suppliers to track the produce through the supply chain. Sometimes fruit travels a long distance to get to our supermarkets and stickers are the easiest way to see where it has come from.
These stickers will often have the company name and country of origin so even we can see what country it is from. In Australia our supermarkets will source oranges from California when they are out of season or will get Kiwifruit from New Zealand.
Look out for local fruit in your supermarket, green grocer or head to your local farmers market to skip the stickers and reduce your food miles.
3. To easy scan in the supermarket
The third reason why stickers end up on fruit is for the final scan at your supermarket. If you are someone that likes to scan their own food through the checkouts, the sticker makes it easy because the code can be scanned in. This will identify the type of fruit and you only need to weigh it.
Stickers make it quick and efficient for customers to scan and pay for the specific fruit they are buying, even if they can’t remember exactly what it is.
Can fruit stickers be recycled?
Fruit stickers cannot be recycled because they contain plastics and glue which is difficult for recycling facilities to process. They are small and can get lost in the recycling bin and end up sticking to all sorts of materials contaminating the process.
There are companies now that are creating compositable stickers but they are rare in most supermarkets. For now the most common stickers are plastic so put the in the garbage headed for landfill to avoid contaminating the recycling or your compost.
Are the stickers on fruit compostable? | Summary
Most stickers on fruit are not compostable. The most common fruit stickers used in large supermarket chains are made from plastic and will not break down well in compost. Some companies are starting to make stickers that are biodegradable but they are uncommon at the moment.
Remove fruit stickers before putting the fruit in your fridge or fruit bowl and make sure they don’t end up in your compost or in your mouth.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.