The winners for the 2021 Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) Scholarship Program were announced this week by Rowan Williams, President of the ABA,  during day two of the Australasian Packaging Innovation & Design Awards (PIDA).

Developed in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP), the ABA Scholarship program will enable the winning candidate to undertake a Diploma in Packaging Technology, and afford a second candidate the opportunity to undertake a Certificate in Packaging. Both courses are run by the Australian Institute of Packaging.

The 2021 ABA Certificate in Packaging Scholarship winner is Maria Becerill Roman AAIP.

Originally starting as a Food Chemist in Mexico, Maria Becerril Roman has significantly advanced her packaging career at since she arrived in Australia. Fresh out of the Master of Food & Packaging Innovation Degree with a Dean’s Honours, she found her way into Coles and has a keen interest in Packaging Sustainability, Innovation and Compliance. Maria sees her career developing in the sustainable packaging quality assurance and compliance areas; along with packaging innovation and design. Maria wants to continue to learn and grow and in five years from now, see herself as becoming a more technically skilled packaging technologist that helps many sectors in the industry achieve their main quality and sustainability goals. Maria is diligent and passionate and is well-suited for the Certificate in Packaging course. She has shown academic excellence throughout her career to date, making her an outstanding student and a very valued contributor to the teams who are fortunate enough to work with her.

The 2021 ABA Diploma in Packaging Technology winner is…Karunia Adhiputra AAIP.

With a Master of Food Science, Karunia Adhiputra, or Adhi as he is known, is a Packaging Specialist at Nestlé, working under the Corporate Packaging division to assist packaging technologists in identifying solutions that would meet Nestlé’s ambition of 100% recyclable or reusable packaging, as well as virgin plastic reduction by 1/3rd by 2025. In addition to this role, he is also the Safety & Compliance owner for packaging materials, which requires Adhi to review certificates and documentation provided by packaging suppliers, ensuring they are compliant to regulations for food contact packaging. Adhi is also responsible for supporting the technical development of the business unit packaging technologists. He has demonstrated continually that he is a natural teacher, as he communicates and engages the packaging team and wider business on the ever-growing complexities of sustainable packaging, technologies, guidelines and mandates. To support this Adhi is seeking, through the Diploma in Packaging Technology, to ensure he understands the fundamentals behind packaging. Adhi is a highly valued packaging specialist in the industry who has high potential and a long future in the packaging industry.

The Australasian Bioplastics Association Incorporated (ABA) is the peak Industry body for the bioplastics industry in Australia and New Zealand and administers two verification programmes for companies and individuals wishing to verify their claims of conformance to Biodegradable Plastics suitable for commercial and home composting.

Recently, the ABA announced new requirements to eliminate the use of fluorinated chemicals in the products and packaging it verifies for compostability.

Due to growing concerns around fluorinated chemicals, often referred to as perfluorinated or polyfluorinated alkyl substance (PFOA & PFAS) as a class of chemicals, the ABA membership and Executive voted to approve a requirement for companies to declare that fluorinated chemicals are not intentionally added to products that is undergoing verification.

Fluorinated chemicals like PFAS are used across a number of industries, and are an effective, FDA-approved “grease-proofing” barrier used on some paper and molded pulp food packaging. Most ABA certified products already do not contain fluorinated chemicals, instead achieving water and grease barrier through the use of compostable biopolymers like PLA, PBAT, PBS, or PHA, as well as compostable waxes.

ABA’s overarching goal is the scalable diversion of organic waste to composting by verifying that products and packaging will successfully break down in professionally managed composting facilities, without harming the quality of finished compost. The certification programme is built on a third party system of independent labs that test products to AS4736 and AS5810 standard specifications, and a robust technical review by an accredited body. The standards include multiple requirements before a product can be claimed to be compostable, including biodegradation testing, disintegration testing, heavy metals limits, compost quality, and toxicity (plant and earthworm) testing. Currently, ABA certifies products and packaging from over 120 companies around the world, and maintains a public database that is keyword searchable for over 220 certified items.

This new restriction on fluorinated chemicals follows the lead of BPI, the US based certifier of compostable packaging. It is clearly the right thing to do, and something we are all committed to,” said ABA President, Rowan Williams. “Compostable products and packaging play a pivotal role in the zero-waste movement, and as more communities across Australasia set up food waste collection programmes, we are working to ensure that ABA’s certification will continue to be a trusted benchmark for compostability.”

The Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA), in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP), are pleased to advise that the finalists have been announced for the 2021 ABA Scholarship program.

The ABA Scholarship program will enable one eligible candidate the opportunity to undertake a Diploma in Packaging Technology and a second person the opportunity to undertake a Certificate in Packaging.

The finalists are: Karunia Adhiputra, Packaging Specialist, Nestle Australia, Maria Becerill Roman, Packaging Technologist, Coles, Ron Fan, Packaging Technologist, Ego Pharmaceuticals, Tunde Lovestyan, State Business Development Manager, FPS, Lea Reynolds, Commercialisation Manager, Steggall Nutrition, Mark Saturnino, Packaging Specialist, Woolworths, Libby Treves, Packaging Technologist, Frucor Suntory.

The two winners will be formally announced  on the 26th of May at the 2021 Australasian Packaging Innovation & Design (PIDA) Awards.

To celebrate the International Compost Awareness Week 2021, which takes place on 2nd-8th May 2021 all around the world, the ABA is glad to share an interesting overview of compost current situation world wide, and the potential of compost in mitigating climate change.

Click here to download the presentation.