Albury City Council was recognised for its considerable achievements in implementing a FOGO service for residents in Albury and neighbouring councils at the NSW Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) Annual awards ceremony on Friday 10 November.

Winners in the ‘Outstanding Local Government Initiative in Organics Collection/Processing or Marketing’ category the Halve Waste Councils (Albury, Wodonga, Towong, Greater Hume, Federation and Indigo) thoroughly deserved the recognition.

The goal of Halve Waste is to reduce the waste to landfill by 50% by 2020.

In 2015 the Halve Waste Councils committed to delivering a food and garden organics collection service for residents.  This has resulted in a 90% take up with 50,000 households from four Shires participating. 22,000 in Albury, 17,000 in Wodonga, 5,000 in Indigo and 5,000 in Federation Council.

The community has really rallied behind the organics service. In fact, the group of Councils has produced the highest quality compost with the lowest levels of contamination in the State. So far, the contamination rate has been less than 1% overall!

Andrea Baldwin manages the Halve Waste Initiative on behalf of the Councils. Andrea was recognised at the awards as the ‘best’ waste manager driving organics collection and recovery.

To date (November 2017) and since its introduction in 2015, the service has generated over 54,000 tonnes of food and garden organics, all of which is being recycled into much needed compost for farms.

Mike Ritchie from MRA Consulting Group accepted the award on behalf of AlburyCity and said “If any council was looking for a model for implementing a food and garden organics collection service and engaging the community – Halve Waste is the answer. The Halve Waste Councils are to be congratulated for their initiative and achievement in halving the waste to landfill in the region.”

The Halve Waste Councils are to be congratulated for their initiative and achievement in halving the waste to landfill in the region.

The award was presented by Annie Kavanagh on behalf of the NSW EPA. The NSW EPA has supported the implementation of FOGO collection through the Waste Less Recycle More funding program.

For more information, visit the Halve Waste website halvewaste.com.au or email education@halvewaste.com.au.

For further detail on the Halve Waste councils’ successes in best practice waste management and resource diversion, refer to this short video.

Republished from MRA Consulting Group  MRA Consulting Group is assisting in the delivery of the Halve Waste project.

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

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.

Claims regarding the degradation of plastics can be highly confusing and understanding the difference can actually be quite simple. The seedling logo, an international certification and symbol exists clearly identifying certified compostable degradable plastics.

The seedling logo is a symbol that the product’s claims of biodegradability and compostability as per Australian Standard 4736-2006 have been verified. The seedling logo clearly identifies and differentiates packaging materials as biodegradable and compostable and clearly identifies compostable biodegradable plastics for retailers and consumers.

Use of the seedling logo will help the end consumer, retailers, customers and municipal authorities to recognise compostable packaging and dispose of it accordingly. Importantly, the seedling logo will communicate the authenticity and independent verification of claims of compliance to AS4736‐2006.

To be certified compostable and carry the seedling logo, suitable biopolymer materials must undergo a stringent test regime outlined by AS4736 and carried out by recognised independent accredited laboratories to the AS4736 standard. Once successful testing is complete, application for formal certification must be made to the ABA. Successful applicants will be licensed to use the logo along with their unique certification number.

Certification verifies that the product will fully biodegrade in an industrial composting plant under controlled conditions such as temperature, moisture and time frame – leaving nothing behind but water, biomass and CO2.

The Seedling logo is a registered trademark owned by European Bioplastics and administered by the Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) in New Zealand and Australia. The ABA launched Australian Standard 4736-2006, compostable and biodegradable plastics – “Biodegradable plastics suitable for composting and other microbial treatment” which is known as the ‘seedling logo’ certification system throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Use of the seedling logo is available to both packaging material producers and their customers, and allows retailers and consumers to clearly identify a more sustainable choice in bags and packaging.

So to avoid confusion and be certain that you are making an environmentally friendly sustainable choice, choose products and packing with the seedling logo.

For further information visit https://bioplastics.org.au/certification/the-seedling-logo/

Republished from Food Packing Forum May 2, 2017   Ksenia Groh Food Packaing Forum

EU-commissioned report highlights the environmental harm caused by oxo-degradable plastics; European Bioplastics calls for a Europe-wide stop of production and use until ‘better certification schemes’ are developed

On April 24, 2017 the trade association European Bioplastics (EUBP) published an article discussing the report entitled “The impact of the use of ‘oxo-degradable’ plastic on the environment,” prepared by the environmental consultancy Eunomia upon request by the European Commission (EC). Oxo-degradable plastics are conventional plastics containing special additives designed to promote the oxidation of the product, resulting in its brittleness and fragmentation into small pieces, but uncertain to ensure a complete degradation or mineralization.

There is currently insufficient evidence that the oxo-degradable plastics biodegrade fully or within reasonable time

According to EUBP, the Eunomia report, released in August 2016, is “very clear in concluding that oxo-degradable plastics should not be allowed to be sold in Europe.” The report concluded that there is currently insufficient evidence that the oxo-degradable plastics “biodegrade fully or within reasonable time,” and highlighted that the pro-oxidant additives could potentially cause toxic effects in soil. Another major problem concerns the potential contamination of recycled products, as the current technology does not allow easily separating oxo-degradable plastics from conventional plastics in the waste streams. The report stated that oxo-degradable plastics can “significantly impair the physical qualities and service life of the recycled product.”

EUBP further pointed out that currently there is a lack of suitable certification in Europe allowing to confirm the appropriate performance of oxo-degradable plastics. Further, the association pointed to the “potential damage to the reputation and image of truly biodegradable plastics.” Based on the above, EUBP called “on the European Commission to suspend the production, sale and use of oxo-degradable plastics in Europe until appropriate standards, standardized regulation of nomenclature, and suitable certification schemes are available.”

Concerns about the potential environmental harm of oxo-degradable plastics have been voiced previously, for example by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) (FPF reported). In 2014, France proposed a ban on oxo-degradable plastics (FPF reported).

Read more

EUBP (April 24, 2017). “New report calls to suspend the use of ‘oxo-degradable’ plastics.

Reference

EC (2016). “The impact of the use of ‘oxo-degradable’ plastic on the environment.” KH-02-16-983-EN-N doi:10.2779/992559

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

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.

ABA Members are being offered a 1 year free subscription to bioplastics MAGAZINE. bioplastics MAGAZINE is the only independent bioplastics trade magazine worldwide. Published biomonthly, bioplastics MAGAZINE provides the latest and most comprehensive news on the global bioplastics industry and is a great source for anyone working in bioplastics, packaging, manufacturing or interested in the latest trends in bioplastics.

For ABA Members to receive a 1 year free subscriptions they just need to subscribe online at http://bioplasticsmagazine.com/en/kontakt/subscription.php

Just enter “ABA” in the promotion code field.

The subscription will be free for the first 6 issues (=1 year). A renewal invoice will be sent after a year and ABA Members can opt to continue to receive the magazine or choose to cancel.

Further Bonus – 10% discount on Events

ABA Members also receive a 10% discount at bioplastics MAGAZINE events.

Just enter “ABA” in the promotion code field at  http://bioplasticsmagazine.com/en/kontakt/b3_registration.php (for the upcoming Bioplastics Business breakfast at K’2016 Düsseldorf/Germany) and you will receive a 10% discount.

According to a new report by Allied Market Research, titled, “World Bioplastics Market Opportunities and Forecast, 2014-2020″, the global market for bioplastics would reach $30.8 billion by 2020, registering a CAGR of 14.8% during 2015-2020. The rising environmental awareness among the consumers and substantial curiosity of packaging industries towards biodegradability are the key factors responsible for the increasing adoption of bioplastics in rigid packaging applications. The rigid plastic application would account for more than 40% of the market revenue by 2020.

Bioplastics are plastics derived from the renewable feedstocks such as corn, sugarcane and cellulose among others. Large availability of renewable feedstocks and eco-friendly nature of bioplastics boost its market across the globe. Furthermore, increasing adoption in new end user industries and favorable government policies for the use of eco-friendly and biodegradable products are some of the key factors that would drive the market growth. On the other hand, high production cost is likely to dampen the market growth during the forecast period.

The consumption of “drop-ins” bioplastics (Bio-PE, Bio-PET 30, Bio-PA and others) would continue to dominate the overall bioplastics market through to 2020, owing to its overall properties and wide applications similar to traditional plastics (PE, PET and PA among others). Bio-PET 30 would be the fastest growing segment in the non-biodegradable bioplastics market, as it delivers same performance as synthetic PET with regards to re-sealability, versatility, durability, appearance, weight and recyclability.

Key findings of the study

  • Rigid plastics would be the fastest growing application segment, at a CAGR of 31.8%, during the forecast period
  • Europe was the highest consumer, whereas, Asia Pacific was the largest producer of bioplastics in 2014. Asia Pacific would be the fastest growing consumer during the forecast period.
  • Bio-PET 30 segment is expected to have healthy volume growth, at 25.7% CAGR, during the forecast period.
  • Polyesters and starch blends segment collectively accounted for about one-third of the overall biodegradable bioplastic market in 2014.
  • PLA is projected to be the fastest growing segment in the overall biodegradable plastics market, in terms of revenue and volume.

North America and Europe collectively accounted for more than 60% of the market, in 2014 and are expected to maintain their lead throughout the forecast period. European policy support for bioplastic manufacturers and increasing health awareness among consumers are the key factors responsible for the market growth within this region. However, Asia Pacific is projected to be the most lucrative market owing to availability of huge renewable feedstocks coupled with increasing investment made by the global bioplastics players.

The leading players in the market are adopting collaboration, partnership and expansion as the key developmental strategies. The prominent players profiled in this report include Novamont SPA, Metabolix Inc., BASF SE, Natureworks LLC, Corbion Purac, Braskem, Cardia Bioplastics, Biome Technolgies Plc, FKuR Kunststoff GmbH and Innovia Films.

Busy Lifestyles and Food Industry

The value of packaging produced in Australia is estimated to be $10-10.5 billion while it is around USD300 billion globally. The food and beverage sector uses almost 65 – 70% of all Australian produced packaging.

It is not difficult to understand the reason for this. As lifestyles across Australian cities become faster and busier, the packaging industry is growing. Busy lifestyles in Australian cities have led to people wanting more ready-to-eat meals on the go, quick, pre-cut, pre-portioned quick cook meals at home or even single serve beverages and quick snacks while they are on the run.

Keeping up with the pace of life and the demand for convenience have been the advancements in food packing technology. Today, there are innovative products that are easy to open, dispense from, reseal and store foods fresh for long.

Innovations in Ballarat graphic design packaging have made food easier to handle, prepare, consume while maintaining the freshness and quality of the original produce. The new materials are lighter in weight and higher performing. Moreover, the food looks great and appeals to the prospective buyer too.

Packaging Materials Used in Australia

Roughly about 35% of the packaging materials used in Australia are paper, board (cartons etc.). Another 30% of the packaging market is plastic which includes PET, PVC, polypropylene and polystyrene. Plastics have rapidly gained share from being only 10% of the market in the early 1960s. Metals such as Aluminium, Steel and other material like glass make up the balance share.

Their Impact on the Environment?

Roughly 60% of these packaging materials are recycled. The balance packaging ends up in landfills where they can take thousands of years to disintegrate completely, releasing toxic harmful gasses in the process.

Did you know that many common packages such as potato chip bags or pizza boxes are not recyclable?

A typical snack chip bag is made up of multiple layers of foil and plastic. They are light-weight, easy to label and occupy less space on the shelves making them the choice of manufacturers and retailers. However, there is no technology available to separate the layers which is required in order to recycle these bags. As a result, they end up occupying expensive landfill real estate for years on end.

A pizza box or other take-out containers made of cardboard ought to be recyclable. However, in reality, whenever cheese or food pieces stick to these boxes, they become un-recyclable and head to the landfills.

Australian Packaging Covenant

The environment has been a major concern for the national food packaging industry for several decades. This, coupled with pressures from the consumers, supply chain and the Government led to the launch of the Australian Packaging Covenant (originally the National Packaging Covenant).

This Covenant has been the key instrument for managing the environmental aspects of packaging in Australia since 1999. Currently in its third iteration, it is a voluntary arrangement between stakeholders of the Australian packaging industry and the key players at all forms of Government. In its current iteration, the Covenant aimed to have reached a target of 70% recycling of all packaging materials by June 2015.

According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian packaging industry this target may not be met given the amount of plastic being imported as Australia’s industry moved offshore. The current covenant has been given an extension of a year till July 2016.

Consumers Leading The Corporates

Consumers have started to care more about sustainability. A web-based survey by The Consumer Network, Inc showed that in the United States, approximately 35% men and 45% women were willing to pay more for recyclable packaging.

It is no wonder then, that many large corporates have been investing millions of dollars to come up with sustainable food packaging innovation. In the early 1970s, Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonalds spent millions of dollars on research. Based on the studies done by the Stanford Research Institute, polystyrene was chosen as the packaging material of choice for McDonalds as it was found to be less polluting as compared to paperboard. In 1993, they started using corrugated micro-flute that not only weighed less, used post-consumer fibre, corn starch adhesive and soy-based inks for its manufacture.

Another large company which has done a lot to further the cause of the use of post-consumer fibres in the food packaging industry is Starbucks. They spent four years with their partners to develop a cup which contained 10% post-consumer fibres. The FDA approved the cup to be in direct contact with food which began to be used in 2006 and has now been adopted by Starbucks in
its locations worldwide.

In 2012, Starbucks introduced new hot-sleeves which required fewer raw materials to be made, while increasing the amount of post-consumer content. This new sleeve is currently being used in the United States and Canada. According to the company, the increased use of post-consumer fibre has led to a saving of nearly 100,000 trees.

Renewable Food Packaging Materials in the 21st Century

Today, there are many bio-based food packaging materials. These are materials which have been derived from annually renewable sources.

The twentieth century had seen the rise of the use of petroleum-derived chemicals as packaging material because of their physical and chemical properties such as lightness, strength, and resistance to water and water-based micro-organisms.

The turn of the century saw attention being given to environmental factors such as sustainability and the ability to recycle. Materials from non-renewable sources such as those from petroleum began to be replaced with those from renewable sources, essentially those derived from plants and their by-products.

One such innovation is to make products out of sugar cane fibre or bagasse, which is the pulp material remaining after the extraction of the sugar-bearing juice from sugar cane. Bagasse can be used for making products normally made from plastic or paper. It also helps avoid the pollution caused to the environment by the burning of the sugarcane pulp after juice extraction. What is more, sugar cane is a readily renewable resource. Products made from sugarcane pulp are fully compostable and will usually compost between 30 – 90 days depending upon the composting facility.

Polylactide (PLA) is another plastic like compound made from the fermentation and distillation of dextrose into lactic acid. The dextrose is derived from starch-rich plant sources such as corn sugar. PLA behave like a plastic, however, it is made from renewable sources and can be fully composted at a commercial composting facility.

Similarly, corn starch and cellulose based polymers are also being used in the food packaging industry. These too are derived from annually renewable sources and take between 45 – 180 days to compost in optimal composting conditions.

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For sustainable packaging solutions, visit Environmental Enterprises. Environmental Enterprises is a supplier of certified, biodegradable/compostable sustainable packaging alternatives to the market place. For product, pricing & ordering contact Wayne on 02 9634 5697/0417 206 755 or visit their website to learn more.

Did you know that using cloth towels instead of using paper towels saves 50% of landfill space from paper wastes? There are continuous towel dispensers that you can install to ensure a hygienic workplace without creating wastes. It can save trees too. Choose the greener option!

Photo Courtesy: “Fried Fish and French Fries”. Licensed under Public Domain
via Commons.

 

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