As the fresh produce industry moves to become more sustainable growers, packers and retailers are looking for alternatives to plastic packing. This is not simple, as fresh produce puts many demands on its packaging. It has to be sturdy to protect the product so it lasts longer, it has to be moisture repellent and able to withstand the rigours of the cold-chain and lastly it has to look good for the consumer.
Companies like Woolworths, Hydro Produce, Westerway Farms and Costa Group are ditching their plastic produce trays in favour of BioPak carbon neutral alternatives, made from sugarcane pulp – a rapidly-renewable raw material that will completely biodegrade in the home compost bin.
“We have been working in close consultation with our customers in the retail and produce industries. Their commitment to engage us to innovate sustainable solutions has been a catalyst to making real change,” says Gary Smith, CEO of BioPak.
Produce packaging that doesn’t cost the earth
Each year, Australia’s farmers produce 2,659,597 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables (source) and 61% of this produce ends up in Australian households, often in polystyrene (PS) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) produce trays.
BioPak’s BioCane trays are made from sugarcane pulp, also known as bagasse. Sugarcane pulp is derived from sugarcane, it is a by-product of sugar manufacturing, so they are using a waste product and making something new and sustainable from it.
How produce trays can make a difference
By switching 50 million produce trays from regular plastic to compostable BioCane alternatives, producers, retailers and customers can; avoid 545 tonnes of plastic being made, reduce CO2 emissions by 992 tonnes – that’s equivalent to driving around the world 93 times; and divert waste from landfill. These trays are certified home compostable and are accepted in the co-mingled recycling.
With the increase in demand for fresh produce, it has become more important than ever for producers and consumers alike to reduce their waste and carbon footprint.