Grant gives BioPak go-ahead for composting infrastructure expansion

 

The Australian Government has announced $10.5 million in grants to support waste recovery in Australia, with 11 successful applicants to be awarded funding as part of the National Product Stewardship Investment Fund.

Grant winner BioPak will use the funding to develop and support its new nationwide program, The Compost Network — an initiative set to bring industry participants together to collaboratively transform compostable packaging and food waste into nutrient-rich soil for thousands of businesses across the country.

“We are excited to join forces with businesses in the packaging, foodservice and waste industry to help grow Australian organic recycling capabilities and instigate widespread change,” BioPak founder Richard Fine said.

“It is time to collaborate in order to overcome the challenges and harness the value and benefits that compostable packaging can provide.

“Compostable packaging is a proven, cost-effective solution to enable the recovery and recycling of food and packaging waste generated by the foodservice industry. Only through collaboration can we transform compostable materials from a niche initiative to a core pillar of a circular and sustainable economy, and we believe The Compost Network can help achieve this vision.”

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Trevor Evans said that the dial is shifting in Australia as people change their mindset about waste and look towards a more circular economy.

“BioPak’s new product stewardship scheme for organic waste and compostable packaging will reduce waste going to landfill, lift recycling rates and help foodservice businesses and consumers make a practical, positive difference for the environment,” Evans said.

An alarming statistic reveals that 8% of greenhouse gases are created by food waste. The foodservice industry in Australia contributes nearly 900,000 tonnes of organic waste, including an estimated 17 billion individual single-use foodservice disposables, which translates to more than 130,000 tonnes of packaging waste that could be recovered and diverted from landfills through organic recycling.

“We are calling on the support from the foodservice and foodservice packaging industry to take ownership and responsibility to ensure that their products are recovered and recycled,” Fine added.

BioPak launched Australia’s first compost collection service in 2018. The Compost Network is an evolution of this program, opening the platform to all participants in the industry in order to maximise the positive environmental impact. The goal is to transform this service into an industry-led program where foodservice businesses can collectively support the development of organic recycling in Australia.

Bioplastics continue to become mainstream as the global bioplastics market is set to grow by 36 percent over the next 5 years

Source: European Bioplastics

Berlin, 2 December 2020 – The results of the European Bioplastics’ (EUBP) annual market data update, presented today at the 15th EUBP Conference, confirm the continued dynamic growth of the global bioplastics industry. “Our industry has successfully weathered the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. And the outlook for bioplastics is also promising as the global market is predicted to grow by 36 percent over the next 5 years”, says François de Bie, Chairman of European Bioplastics.

The global bioplastics production capacity is set to increase from around 2.1 million tonnes in 2020 to 2.8 million tonnes in 2025. Innovative biopolymers, such as bio-based PP (polypropylene) and especially PHAs (polyhydroxyalkanoates) continue to drive this growth. Since PHAs entered the market, the share of this important polymer family continued to grow. Production capacities are set to increase successfully almost sevenfold in the next 5 years. The production of polylactic acid (PLA) will also continue to grow due to new investments in PLA production sites in China, the US, and in Europe. Currently, biodegradable plastics account for almost 60 percent of the global bioplastics production capacities. PHA and PLA are bio-based, biodegradable, and feature a wide array of physical and mechanical properties.

Production capacities of bio-based PP are set to more than triple by 2025. This is due to the widespread application of PP in a wide range of sectors. PP is a very versatile material that features excellent barrier properties and is one of the most widespread commodity plastics. A bio-based version of this olefine has been awaited for many years. Bio-based, non-biodegradable plastics, including the drop-in solutions bio-based PE and bio-based PET (polyethylene terephthalate), as well as bio-based PA (polyamides), currently make up for 40 percent (0.8 million tonnes) of the global bioplastics production capacities. For bio-based PE new capacities are planned to come on-line in Europe and South America over the coming years. In contrast, bio-based PET will contribute only a small share to the overall capacities. Intentions to increase production capacities have not been realised at nearly the rate predicted in previous years. Instead, the focus has shifted to the development of PEF (polyethylene furanoate), a new polymer that is expected to enter the market in 2023. PEF is comparable to PET but is fully bio-based and furthermore features superior barrier properties, making it an ideal material for beverage bottles.

Packaging remains the largest field of application for bioplastics with almost 47 percent (0.99 million tonnes) of the total bioplastics market in 2020. The data also confirms that bioplastics materials are already being used in many other sectors, and the portfolio of application continues to diversify. Segments, such as consumer goods or agriculture and horticulture products, continue to increase their relative share.

With a view to regional capacity development, Asia remains a major production hub with over 46 percent of bioplastics currently being produced there. Presently, one fourth of the production capacity is located in Europe. This share is predicted to grow to up to 28 percent by 2025. “Recently, significant investments have been announced by our industry, also in the heart of the European Union. Europe is set to become a key producer of bioplastics. The material will play an important role in achieving a circular economy. The ‘local for local’ production will accelerate the adoption of bioplastics in the European market”, says Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of European Bioplastics.

The land used to grow the renewable feedstock for the production of bioplastics is estimated to be 0.7 million hectares in 2020 and continues to account for 0.015 percent of the global agricultural area of 4.7 billion hectares. Despite the market growth predicted in the next five years, the land use share for bioplastics will only slightly increase to 0.02 percent. „We do not weary of emphasising that there is no competition between renewable feedstock for food and feed, and the use for bioplastics” says von Pogrell, “94 percent of all arable land is used for pasture, feed and food.”

The market data update 2020 has been compiled in cooperation with the nova-Institute (Hürth, Germany). The data for the global production capacities of bioplastics is based on the market study “Bio-based Building Blocks and Polymers” by nova-Institute (2020). For more information on the study and full market data report, please go to www.bio-based.eu/markets

 

Click here to read the European Bioplastics Press Release