We are so used to talking about climate change in terms of future predictions – dire, scary, but still some way off. On a good day, we might convince ourselves that this fate – the anthropogenic warming of our planet – is still avoidable. In fact, science would suggest that the future is already here – the effects of global warming are already being felt around the world, and the need to change our current model of consumption is urgent.
In the same way, the future for sustainable packaging is now. Not soon – now.
It Is Urgent
To arrest the growing methane emissions from landfill, and to save our increasingly fragile ecosystems from the damage wrought by plastic waste, the shift to sustainable packaging must acquire the same urgency with which the world seeks to address carbon emissions and to make the shift to a carbon-neutral economy.
This shift is in progress, governments and policymakers around the globe are already adopting new guidelines for sustainable packaging and are beginning to legislate to reduce waste. The adoption of innovative materials and wider use of compostable packaging is already taking massive strides but it is critical that manufacturers, consumers and governments work together to achieve our common, sustainable goals.
Greenwashing Doesn’t Make the Cut
The sustainable food packaging industry is awash in claims and competing messages about sustainability. With few universal definitions of environmental impacts and an industry saturated by marketing that can amount to little more than greenwashing, it is more important than ever to have transparency around our environmental claims.
At BioPak, we invest in independently verified certifications to ensure our consumers and partners are empowered to make informed choices – and avoid the gimmicks.
Certifications demonstrate a company's commitment to quality, safety and sustainability. It affirms that a company's claims regarding the products, processes and social impacts have passed specific performance, sustainability and quality assurance tests. Where claims to environmental impact are backed up by regulated, robust standards it can help consumers and business owners alike to shop (and sell) responsibly.
Circularity Is Key
The idea of a circular economy is one that is gaining momentum and by thinking about and designing for the entire life cycle of a product we can unlock the power to minimize the impact of single-use packaging on the environment.
|Innovation in materials technology means a wider range of compostable products are available, without compromising the consumer experience. In the last two years we have seen a 300% increase in demand for our sugarcane pulp products. We have uptake from small food trucks to large multinational QSRs and retailers. Woolworths now sells their bakery range and an increasing number of fresh foods, including oysters, in our certified home compostable sugarcane pulp trays.|
Compostables are going to be a big part of the future of foodservice packaging, forming a circular ecosystem that will deliver a cleaner recycling stream, divert food waste from landfill, and making nutrient-rich compost, which acts as a carbon sink.
|In this way compostable products can be part of a healthy, biological cycle, closing the loop on single-use waste in the foodservice industry. We are working with our business partners to increase access and collection for compostables and provide meaningful engagement with our consumers.|
Now Is the Time To Make the Switch
Foodservice businesses have the opportunity to lead the charge by choosing composting to recycle their food and packaging waste. We’ve seen a massive uptake across the foodservice sector, from shopping centres, universities, coffee roasters and schools that have made the switch to composting.
|Residential access to composting programs is key to the success of not only compostable packaging but also the removal of food waste from landfill. While access to composting programs is not yet widespread, access is increasing. It is important to support this move as organics in landfill are the third-largest contributor to climate change, emitting methane, a greenhouse gas 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide.|
The shift to a circular economy is no trend; it is here to stay. Around the world people are becoming more aware of the impact of packaging and governments are responding with policy throughout Europe, the United Kingdom and Australia. No one would question the introduction of policies of the past such as mandatory seat-belts in cars, or control of the tobacco industry – we are preparing for a future where the impacts of waste on the very health of the world are recognised and enshrined in public policy.