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How Long Does It Take For Certified Compostable Products Take To Compost?

AORA Demonstration Day Proves ABA Certified Compostable Materials Meet Australian Composting Requirements.

The Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) and its Members participated at the 2018 Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) Annual Conference Demonstration Day Held in Brisbane by putting certified compostable bags and food service ware to the test.

Participating ABA members supplied their certified compostable bags and food service ware with the AORA team to establish time required for items to compost under AORA established conditions. ABA member certified compostable bags and food service ware were buried in an open windrow. Windrow composting is the production of compost by piling organic matter in long rows (windrows).

The AORA team built a windrow of composting FOGO (Food Organics Green Organics) consisting mostly of green waste removed from normal processes at around two weeks from establishment and at around seven weeks prior to the demonstration. Once built, the windrow was not turned again.

The certified compostable items supplied by ABA members were buried in the windrow and staked out at 6/4/2/1 weeks to test decomposition time. At 6/4/2/1 weeks and around 10 days prior to the demonstration the AORA team placed fresh food waste (lettuce and other green leaves) in ABA member certified compostable plastic bags and placed them and some ABA member certified compostable plates, Take-out containers, Clear cups, Paper Coffee Cups and cup lids into holes dug to a depth of around 400-600mm in the windrows. These were re-buried and marked with stakes. The windrow was not otherwise touched. The windrows were temperature tested weekly at 62-65C.

                              

On the AORA Demonstration Day in front of AORA Conference attendees, the AORA team dug up the areas marked with the stakes to check the certified compostable materials state of decomposition. At none of the marked stakes were AORA able to find any evidence of the buried material.

The results, of the decomposition trial of ABA member supplied certified compostable material, were conclusive that all the materials buried during the trial period were composted. The rate of decomposition particularly from items buried at the 1/2/4 week stakes demonstrated the speed of decomposition of certified compostable items. Further investigation, by the AORA team, using a Komptech turner and trommels to ensure nothing was missed, again confirmed that all ABA member supplied certified compostable items had composted.

On completion of the test, ABA Executive Warwick Hall and ABA Committee Member Rivka Garson spoke to AORA members on the stringent process that compostable products need to go through to achieve certification and have the ability to carry the seedling or home compostability logo. Hall and Garson, also spoke on the importance of ensuring that only certified compostable bags and products are used for in composting processes and how to easily identify these items, through the seedling logo and home compostability logo as well as the identifying number supplied to each ABA members products. Without the logos and identifying numbers, material is not considered certified compostable.

Martin Tower, Executive Director AORA stated, “I have to say I was amazed (and a bit embarrassed) that we could find no evidence of anything we buried. I was paying particular attention when the Komptech turner went through the pile to see if we had missed anything but again I saw nothing then or subsequently before the trommels got to work on the windrow. This conclusively proves that Australasian Bioplastics Members supplied certified compostable bags and food service ware decompose under AORA specified conditions.”

About the AORA Annual Conference

The AORA Annual Conference is well established as the principal conference in Australia for the recycled organics industry. Each conference is a forum for education, discussion and networking related to Organics Recycling. It is also an opportunity to celebrate outstanding achievements in the industry. www.aoraconference.com.au

 

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Recycling Crisis: True Goal Is Zero Waste Going To Landfill

Recycling Crisis: True Goal Is Zero Waste Going To Landfill

Article by Richard Fine Founder from BioPak

After years of doing the right thing by separating our garbage so that our glass bottles, newspapers and plastics can be recycled, Victorians are now being told that all that recycling could be, well, a waste of time.

According to the Municipal Association of Victoria, a decision by China to place a ban on the import of recycling materials from outside the country has resulted in several councils having their recycling contracts cut back by waste companies.

The Chinese town of Giuyu used to be a dumping ground for the world’s trash. Now China has banned imports of foreign waste to crack down on its own chronic pollution problem. If this continues, councils will have to stockpile millions of tonnes of waste or worse, dump it all in landfills.

BioPak, which was established in 2006, is the largest manufacturer and distributor of environmentally sustainable disposable food packaging in Australia, which means our products are designed to be repurposed rather than ending up in the local tip.

It also means that we are acutely aware of the seriousness of the situation. Let’s be clear: Australia is facing a potential waste crisis – we are running out of landfills, no matter how many more we build.

Every year, Australians send more than 6.2 million tonnes of organic waste to landfill, which include everything from food scraps to garden clippings and cardboard boxes. In 2016 alone, Australians sent about 2.2 million tonnes of plastic and about 1.6 million tonnes of paper and cardboard to landfill.

The landfill problem is not one limited to Victoria or even Australia – the issue has been troubling policy makers across the world, especially in the United States and Europe. We are well aware of what this means: landfills will eventually fill up, no matter how many we build.

So, what can we do? Well, we need to focus on more than recycling, for starters.

While continuing to encourage more councils to recycle waste, we believe the time has come to find others ways to deal with this huge landfill problem.

In other words, we need to consider alternatives, such as compostable food service packaging, including those ubiquitous coffee cups.

It means we need to start talking about a truly circular economy, where we design and produce food service packaging from environmentally friendly, responsibly sourced rapidly renewable materials, such as paper from managed plantations, agricultural by-products such as the stalks of sugar cane after the sugar has been extracted and compostable bioplastics. Then comes the hard bit: to help guide that compostable packaging and remaining food scraps through the economy, from café or restaurant to workplace to green waste bins.

Eventually, those green waste bins are processed at commercial composting facilities where their contents are turned into nutrient-rich compost for use at home – or in large-scale commercial agriculture and land rehabilitation.

A major benefit of producing compostable, bio-based food packaging is that through commercial composting it can be diverted from landfill along with any remaining food residues at the end of its life.

In the process, the methane gas that organics emit when they biodegrade in landfill is eliminated.

This is not futuristic thinking by any means. The compostable foodservice packaging is widely available and commercial scale compost infrastructure is growing at a rapid pace to address the huge amounts of organic waste that mostly goes to landfill. European countries including France and England have committed to phase out and ban non compostable foodservice packaging within the next decade.

In Britain, where the debate has accelerated in the past year or so, the Ellen MacArthur foundation – a think-tank that works with business, government and academia to build a framework for a circular economy – recently released a report looking into compostable packaging.

After three years of investigation, the interim report concluded that compostable packaging provides the only genuine solution to ensure food service packaging, including coffee cups, is diverted from landfill.

Here in Australia, BioPak recently signed an agreement with one of the big four banks, which has converted all employee food service outlets in their head office building to collect compostable food packaging. And we have launched a national program to encourage cafes and other venues to put our compostable cups and packaging into special bins, which will be collected and recycled into compost.

BioPak is committed to doing the right thing, designing, making and distributing food packaging that is sourced from renewable materials, which means contributing to a sustainable life cycle – rather than packaging that has a single use, before it ends up at the local tip.

In a true circular economy, our ultimate objective is zero material going to landfill.

It’s an ambitious goal but one that we believe is achievable. All we need if for our politicians and business leaders to start paying attention, not just in Victoria but nationally.

Richard Fine is the founder of BioPak. With additional input from Gary Smith, who is BioPak’s chief executive officer.

 

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Big Brands Embracing Bioplastics

Big Brands Embracing Bioplastics

We all love the convenience of easy to buy, easy to use products that fill our supermarkets. Convenience means packaging and that means that there are no escaping plastics in our life. Packaging is the single biggest application of plastic globally with most packaging being disposable, single-use items.  Unfortunately, even though recycling exists in many countries, only 2% of recycling globally is turned into new packaging. In addition, with 8 million tonnes of the material enter the ocean each year something has to change.

There are now positive signs that both governments and industry are moving towards a circular economy, where the end use of plastics and packaging is considered from the outset. It looks like bioplastics are no longer just of interest to sustainability focused consumers, big brands have started taking note of bioplastics advantages.

Forward thinking big brands are taking a lead and are calling for the consumer goods industry to step-up its efforts to tackle the mounting challenge of ocean plastic waste and create a circular economy for plastics.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation announced at the World Economic Forum on January 22nd 2018 a list of 11 big brands working towards using 100 per cent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025. Big names including Amcor, Ecover, evian, L’Oréal, Mars, M&S, PepsiCo, the Coca-Cola Company, Unilever, Walmart, and Werner & Mertz, have chosen to lead the way for other brand-owners, retailers and plastics processors to make the consumables market more sustainable. Considering they represent over six million tonnes of plastic packaging annually, these companies can create real impact.

With an ever-growing number of big brands turning to bioplastic solutions, the market penetration is well on its way. Brands such as Procter & Gamble, Puma, Samsung, IKEA, Tetra Pak, Heinz, Stella McCartney, Gucci and retail leader Iceland UK have already introduced first large scale products in Europe.

There are also other well-known names committing to change, for example, Lego allocated one billion kroner (AUS$162.8 million) to research more sustainable materials. In the automotive market, Ford, Toyota and Mercedes have introduced various bioplastic components in several car models and electronics giant Fujitsu already uses bioplastics in some of its products.

Although the impact of all of these big brands making changes will not be immediate, they will start resonating through their supply chain with suppliers and manufacturers needing to look at viable functional alternatives including plant based compostable bioplastics . The next few years will be an exciting time for the bioplastic market and for consumers. Consumers will be able to make informed decisions and choose products and packaging that have a positive impact.

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Sport kicking goals for the environment

Some of the great catalysts of change in the sport and sustainability sectors came together at the #SEASummit 2017, to tackle how the sporting industry can limit its impact on the environment.

Sport instigates passion at the highest level, there is nothing more exciting than watching one of your favourite sporting heroes or your child shoot for a goal, catch a perfect wave or hit a winning shot. We hear the roar of the crowd at large events and watch the sea of people. What most of us don’t think about is the environmental impact of sports and sporting events. Sporting grounds require water and the need to manage waste and energy. Major events have an even bigger challenge with waste, water and energy consumption. Looking at how sports affect the environment and then how to reduce this impact, is the monumental task that the Sports Environment Alliance (SEA) and its members have set themselves.

Held at the iconic MCG, the SEA’s 2nd annual #SEASummit brought together leaders in the sporting world and the sustainability industry to discuss how a collective and collaborative approach can lead to change.

The #SEASummit 2017 attendees read like the who’s who of the Australian sporting world including SEA Members such as the AFL, Basketball Australia, Confederation of Australian Motor Sport , Cricket Australia, FFA, Netball Australia, Surfing Victoria, Tennis Australia (TA), Victoria Racing Club, as well as sporting greats, councils, sustainability industry experts, innovative suppliers as well as media amongst others. All of the participants have one common goal and that is a win for the environment.

Understanding the importance of the role bioplastics can have in minimising waste, Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) members Natureworks, Biopak and Cardia Bioplastics all had guernseys at the #SEASummit 2017. In “Cleaning Up The Materials Conversation”, Gary Smith from BioPak and Doug Kunnemann from Natureworks discussed how shifting to certified compostable plastics can greatly reduce waste created at sporting events ending up in landfill.

Dr Sheila N Nguyen, Executive Director SEA states, “The Sports Environment Alliance is represented by industry leaders who understand that we need to minimise the weight of our imprint on the grass we play on, and to do so, we must be an active part of the circular economy.  Our members and our communities must consider decisions which will #SEAtheChange for the energy, water and materials we have and use.” Sheila continues, “Having the option to use bioplastic products at events ensures that we encourage the creation, use, and management of materials in the best way we can, to authentically engage the no waste world.”

We all know that sport has the power to influence, the SEA want the sport industry tackle environmental health from the grassroots through to the elite level, and encompass everyone who is involved from participants, to fans and venues.

Sport Environmental Alliance, Natureworks, Biopak, Cardia Bioplastics

 

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Growth In Local Governments Implementing Kitchen Food Waste Recycling

With Australian households throwing away 3.1 million tonnes of edible food per year, many local governments are creating change. Over 500 local governments across Australia manage waste on behalf of their local communities by organising waste collection and processing or disposing of food waste.

Having identified a significant amount of food in their waste streams, local governments are taking steps to reduce food waste through a range of programs. Some of these initiatives include information sessions and demonstrations on storing food and composting at home, grants and rebates for households to purchase compost bins and worm farms, and the roll-out of kerbside organic bins to divert food waste from landfill.

As food and garden waste makes up a large portion (up to 61%) of the average household’s current garbage bin waste, many local governments have introduced  food and garden organics bins. By collecting food and garden waste, local governments are diverting kitchen organics from landfill while also giving people a disposal option for garden waste.

To enable clean and easy kitchen food waste collection, many local governments provide residents with a kitchen caddy and certified compostable liners. Kitchen caddy liners are made from certified compostable materials (usually compostable corn-starch) and are verified under Australian Standard AS4736 to compost in commercial composting facilities within 6 weeks.

The Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) and its members have seen a rapid growth in local governments implementing kitchen food waste recycling for their communities. ABA Member, Cardia Bioplastics (subsidiary of SECOS Group) recently won a major contract to supply AS4736 certified compostable bags to Penrith City Council in NSW.

City of Penrith Mayor, Councilor John Thain, said, “Our council is intently focused on sustainable waste management and resource recovery services, and diverting organic waste away from landfill through SECOS’ compostable bags supports our community’s efforts.”  There are now 27 Councils in NSW who have implemented kitchen food waste recycling for their communities.

 At the recent NSW Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) Annual awards ceremony in November Albury City Council was recognised for its considerable achievements in implementing a FOGO (Food Organic & Garden Organics) service for residents in Albury and neighbouring councils. The ABA works closely with the AORA to ensure that bags meet recycling standards.

With an increase in organics industrial recycling facilities being setup across Australia, ABA members are continually working closely with councils in running trial programs and supplying AS4736 certified compostable bags.

With a new National Waste strategy having just been launched in November there are sure to be more local governments commencing trial programs and implementing Kitchen Food Waste Recycling.

To find out what your state is doing read here https://awre.com.au/organics/right-climate-organics-recovery-part-2-state-governments-drive-organics-recovery/

 

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Biopak Launches Composting Service

BioPak, a global leader in the innovation and production of environmentally – sustainable packaging, today unveiled Australia’s first comprehensive composting service for food service packaging, including paper coffee cups, in a move designed to divert food scraps and food service packaging from landfill.

BioPak Chief Executive Officer, Gary Smith, said the new service will allow customers to dispose of used coffee cups and BioPak compostable takeaway food packaging in specially designed collection bins at their local cafes or workplaces. He said the service would initially cover most areas in Sydney’s CBD and in near suburbs.

“By bringing together waste contractors and compost facility operators we are been able to offer a sustainable end of life solution for our products,” Mr Smith said. The service already has customers like Allpress coffee roasters, local cafes, and a major financial institution, which has implemented the program at their Sydney head office. The special compost bins will be collected weekly and sent to commercial facilities to be composted – and in only eight weeks, they will be turned into nutritious soil compost for gardens or farms.

BioPak founder Richard Fine said the aim of the service was to ensure that the environmental benefit of compostable , single use disposable packaging could be maximised, helping customers in reducing the environmental impact of their business. “In Australia, we send more than eight million tonnes of organic waste to landfill every year, including 1.5 million tonnes of food waste,” Mr Fine said.

“The problem with this is that when food waste decomposes in landfills, it releases methane, which is a greenhouse gas 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide, resulting in enormous damage to our environment. “Switching to compostable food service packaging, including compostable coffee cups, can divert much of this material from going to landfill.” Mr Fine said that BioPak products provided a compostable alternative to the standard plastic, single-use food service packaging that was normally made from finite fossil resources.

“Our products are designed for a circular economy, using rapidly renewable and sustainably sourced material that return nutrients back into the soil at the end of their life,” he said. “There is a growing awareness of the environmental impact of single use plastics. We need to work to stem the flow of plastics into our oceans and to replace durable plastics derived from fossil resources as a material of choice for products that last for generations but have a functional life measured in minutes.”

Source: biopak press release 11/12/17

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NZ Packaging Forum Releases Study Of Compostable Food Packaging & Coffee Cups In Composting Facilities

The NZ Packaging Forum Public Place Recycling Scheme has released the findings of a detailed survey of 27 composting facilities across New Zealand to understand their experiences with processing compostable food packaging including compostable coffee cups.

Eleven facilities have agreed to be listed as accepting compostable food packaging with a further two unnamed facilities able to do so. Seven facilities are piloting processing systems or developing the capability to accept compostable cups and other compostable packaging waste. Coverage varies with North Island facilities identified in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, New Plymouth, Hawkes Bay and Wellington and South Island facilities in Tasman and Kaikoura.

Lyn Mayes, Manager of the Packaging Forum’s Public Place Recycling Scheme which commissioned the research said: “Around 295 million hot and cold cups are consumed annually in New Zealand with over 90% of coffee cup brands are either manufactured or sold by our members.  The industry has seen a significant growth in the volume of compostable cups and with this confusion as to whether, where and how they can be composted.

“We commissioned Beyond the Bin to assess the range of cups on the market; survey facilities about whether they can process compostable cups; identify the barriers and make recommendations as to how these can be resolved. Based on the information supplied by our members, the compostable coffee cups in the New Zealand market have similar specifications and are typically certified to the EN13432 (Commercial compost European standard).”

Kim Renshaw, Director Beyond the Bin said: “The composting industry has some will and/ or capacity to process food packaging including coffee cups and in most cases, their C-PLA lids. The barriers they face to process compostable food packaging in their existing operations are varied and significant. Contamination, lack of identification, length of processing time, volume vs weight and organic input restrictions affect a composter’s will and capacity.”

“The Packaging Forum with its members can help solve these issues by creating an identification and standard for cups and innovating product design to reduce the length of processing time. Contamination, volume vs weight and organic input restrictions are process/ regulation related which require a combined effort from waste producers, service providers, regulatory bodies and packaging companies.”

“Many composting facilities have special relationships with credible waste producers, those who contaminate their waste and provide a clean waste stream which means a facility might take compostable food packaging from one customer, service provider or event who agree to use composter approved packaging and are employing decontamination techniques.”

Mayes said that the study provides a pathway:

“We have already initiated a change to our funding criteria for events this year requiring applicants to provide evidence they will separate packaging waste either during the event or through post event sortation. Our members are working with community composting service providers such as Home Grown Waiheke Trust to provide local solutions and we see an opportunity to support standalone compost units as an option for small scale local solutions. And it is particularly exciting that product innovation is taking place with members looking at the development of new products capable of home composting.”

“Work is underway to develop an agreed identification system for coffee cups which will clearly identify them as compostable or recyclable where facilities exist and a process for its use.  We have started discussion with the Waste Management Institute New Zealand (WasteMINZ) about an identification standard to ensure consistency and increase the likelihood of acceptance.”

Paul Evans, Chief Executive of WasteMINZ said “We commend industry for undertaking this research. For any solution to be effective in the long term there needs to be real collaboration between packaging manufacturers and the composting industry, recognising the potential impacts on compost products. We look forward to working positively with the Packaging Forum to determine an appropriate composting standard and identification system, which meets the needs of all parties”.

The Public Place Recycling Scheme is an industry funded initiative which is owned and managed by the Packaging Forum. Over 40 of New Zealand’s leading companies support the Scheme paying levies which are used to buy recycling and litter bins and to help fund recycling and composting at events and venues around the country.

Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) Member BioPak, is also a member of Public Place Recycling Scheme and is on the steering committee of the composting facilities study.

The full report is available on: http://recycling.kiwi.nz/

Originally posted by NZ Public Place Recycling Scheme’s website

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BioCup Art Series To Raise Money For Rainforest Rescue

BioCup Art Series has teamed up with Rainforest Rescue and Great Barrier Reef Legacy to bring you the #rainforest2reef Art Series. The series features 17 artists whose work celebrates and raises awareness on the importance of protecting the ancient and biodiverse Daintree National Park and the Great Barrier Reef. Each story will be revealed at: rainforest2reef.org.au which will go live on the 14th September.

All BioCups are lined with Ingeo™ bioplastic and made with sustainably sourced paper from managed plantations. Ingeo™ bioplastic is made from plants, not oil and it emits 75% less CO2 emissions compared to conventional plastic.

The cups will be printed in sets of three: a rainforest, reef and an image which connects the two areas. Each image tells a tale about an area or an animal or event such as a flood.

All artists all have a strong connection to Daintree and/or Great Barrier Reef. Indigenous artist Karen Shuan is an influential member of the local community and her work Jalungkarr represents the importance of flooding to the area “All the elders are singing for the rain to make the flash flood come.”

BioPak are proud to support and promote the arts community with the BioCup Art Series. Every three months we will print artwork from Australian and New Zealand artists on our 8oz, 12oz and 16oz single wall and double wall BioCups. BioPak’s curator Kate Armstrong seeks out artists who explore environmental themes at the core of their practice. Delight and engage your coffee customers with this changing series that looks at sustainability issues from what is involved in building a house, to the beauty of Australian bush flowers or the urban environment.

“We’re honoured to be working with such a diverse range of artists who can help tell the story of these special places and why they need protecting,” says Rainforest Rescue CEO, Julian Gray.

#rainforest2reef BioCup Art Cups will be on sale from 10th September 2017 to 15th January 2018. Use hashtag #rainforest2reef on images of your cups and BioPak will donate $1 for every post till 15th January 2018*.

Originally posted by  Rainforest Rescue.

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Towards a Circular Economy, Bioplastics, Food Waste and Agriculture

Rowan Williams, President of the Australasian Bioplastics Association recently presented “Towards a Circular Economy,
Bioplastics, Food Waste and Agriculture” at the A-NZ  Plastics & Waste Conference.

Key highlights of the presentation included:

  • Bioplastics and their role in a Circular Economy
  • Moving from a linear economy to a Circular Economy
  • Bioplastics, food waste and agriculture
  • Certified compostable plastics -benefit
  • Soil Health improvements from food waste, enabled by compostable bioplastics

To view the presentation, click here Towards a Circular Economy, Bioplastics, Food Waste and Agriculture

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Australasian Bioplastics Association becomes founding member of the Pan Pacific Bioplastic Association

The Pan Pacific Bioplastics Alliance (PPBA) has been formed to work together in identifying collaborative projects in sustainable development that enhance the PPBA leadership position in the global community.

Founding Members of PPBA include the Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA), the Environmentally Biodegradable Polymer Association in Taiwan (EBPA), the Korean Bioplastics Association (KBPA), the Japan BioPlastics Association (JBPA), the Thai Bioplastics Industry Association (TBIA), the Biodegradable Products Institute in the USA (BPI) and the European Bioplastics (EUBP).

From time to time, Associate Members noted as Technical Partners, may be added to the PPBA.

The Australasian Bioplastics Associations President, Mr Rowan Williams, will assume the role of PPBA’s Executive Secretary.

PPBA projects are focused on promoting the continual growth of bioplastics and may include, but are not be limited to the following:

  • Identifying, organising and promoting sustainable development through dissemination of knowledge and information
  • Co-hosting various programs such as lectures, workshops, seminars, forums, conferences, press conferences as well as other activities.

PPBA’s collaborative projects will be aimed at the general public, companies and industries, NGOs, media, government agencies and academic institutions and associations.

Further information on the PPBA and updates on PPBA activities will be communicated to ABA Members and supporters in the future.