Early-works construction on the new biopolymer manufacturing site began in June 2022 with expected completion of the facility on schedule for the second half of 2024.

PLYMOUTH, Minn., November 9, 2022NatureWorks, the world’s leading manufacturer of low-carbon polylactic acid (PLA) biopolymers made from renewable resources, has selected TTCL Public Company Limited (SET: TTCL) as the general contractor for procurement, construction, commissioning, and startup support services for their new Ingeo™️ PLA manufacturing complex in Thailand. The new facility is designed to be fully integrated and will include production of lactic acid, lactide, and polymer. Located on the Nakhon Sawan Biocomplex (NBC) in Nakhon Sawan Province, the manufacturing site will have an annual capacity of 75,000 tons of Ingeo biopolymer and will produce the full portfolio of Ingeo grades.

In June 2022, site preparation for the new manufacturing facility at the NBC was completed and NatureWorks signed an agreement with Sino Thai Engineering and Construction PCL (STECON) to begin early-works construction for piling, underground piping, storm water management, and tank foundations. Currently underway, the early-works construction progress keeps completion of the facility on schedule for the second half of 2024.

“We are pleased to see the continued progress on the construction of our second Ingeo manufacturing complex that will help us address the increasing global market demand for sustainable materials,” said Steve Bray, VP of Operations at NatureWorks. “With the selection of TTCL as our general contractor, we are looking forward to leveraging their expertise in executing large, highly technical capital projects in Thailand.”

NatureWorks expects to hold a cornerstone laying ceremony to honor the progress of site construction in February 2023.

In 2021, NatureWorks first announced the authorization for initiating their global capacity expansion plan beginning with their second Ingeo biopolymer manufacturing facility in Thailand. NatureWorks became the first company to produce PLA biopolymers at commercial scale in 2002. NatureWorks expanded its flagship Blair, Nebraska facility to an annual total capacity of 150,000 metric tons in 2013 with an additional capacity expansion announced in 2020 to further increase the availability of Ingeo biopolymers.

The expanded global production of Ingeo biopolymers will support growth in markets including 3D printing and hygiene as well as compostable coffee capsules, tea bags, flexible packaging, and food serviceware that demand sustainable, low-carbon materials and require the high-performance attributes that Ingeo is uniquely suited to deliver.

For more information about NatureWorks and Ingeo, or to purchase Ingeo biopolymer resin visit www.natureworksllc.com. Follow NatureWorks on Twitter (@natureworks) for the latest updates.

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About NatureWorks

NatureWorks is an advanced materials company offering a broad portfolio of biopolymers and biochemicals made from renewable resources. With performance and economics that compete with oil-based materials, naturally advanced Ingeo™ biomaterials are valued for their unique functional properties and used in products from coffee capsules and appliances to tea bags and 3D printing filament. NatureWorks is jointly owned by Thailand’s largest ASEAN leading integrated petrochemical and refining company, GC, and Cargill, which provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world. For more information visit natureworksllc.com or follow NatureWorks on Twitter at @natureworks.

  • DualPakECO® trays are made of lightweight paperboard and coated with BASF’s biopolymer ecovio® PS 1606
  • Commercially compostable solution extends end-of-life options for paperbased food packaging and supports organics recycling
  • Performance regarding processing, sealing, printability and strength on same level as conventional PET food trays
  • Food trays can be used in microwave and conventional ovens, in fridges and deep freezers

 

Bayswater, Australia/Ludwigshafen, Germany, June 29, 2022: The Australian food packaging manufacturer Confoil and BASF have cooperated to develop a certified compostable and dual ovenable food tray based on paper. The paper tray is coated on the inside with BASF’s ecovio® PS 1606, a partly bio-based and certified compostable biopolymer especially developed for coating food packaging made of paper or board. The trays called DualPakECO® are certified according to the Australian standard AS4736-2006 and food contact approved according to international requirements. They can be used for ready-to-eat meals like lasagne, curries and stir-fries available as cold or frozen in supermarkets as well as for catering and take-away from restaurants.

The trays extend the end-of-life options for paper-based packaging by being organically recyclable: They can be commercially composted with the organic waste collected in organic waste bins. Thus the new packaging solution supports organics recycling of food residues and food-soiled packaging which increases the diversion of food waste from landfill and incineration.

Alternative to PET plus sustainability benefit

This new certified compostable solution is an alternative to conventional PET packaging for ready-to-eat meals: The trays can be heated in conventional ovens and microwaves, can be chilled or frozen. They show excellent barrier properties against fats, liquids and odors helping to preserve freshness and flavors. “We wanted to create a paper-based food tray that meets all the food industries’ requirements but with the added benefit that it is certified compostable”, said Alison Buxton, CEO of
Confoil. “With BASF’s certified compostable biopolymer ecovio® PS 1606 we have found the ideal component to take the next step towards sustainable solutions in our portfolio and to help our customers reach their sustainability targets at the same time. Our joint development represents a shift to paper-based and certified compostable material in order to support the Australian 2025 National Plastics Plan which aims at reducing the impact of packaging on the environment.Composting trials have shown that the DualPakECO® trays break down into water, carbon dioxide and nutrient-rich compost within four to six weeks under commercial composting conditions.

ecovio® PS 1606 extends end-of-life options for paper applications

The paperboard for DualPakECO® can easily be formed and allows for printability. The board is lightweight yet rigid enough for in-line production facilities. It also offers secure sealing across a variety of film substrates and machinery. The paper tray is coated with ecovio® PS 1606 in a mono-layer extrusion process. Due to its excellent migration barrier properties the BASF biopolymer also enables the use of recycled paper in food applications. The high content of renewable raw materials leads to a reduced material carbon footprint, which allows savings of greenhouse gas emissions. “Composting is the most resource-efficient process for food waste recycling”, said Rowan Williams from Market Development Biopolymers at BASF. “This packaging solution supports a circular economy as it contributes to the diversion of food waste and food-soiled packaging from landfills and incineration,
thus avoiding associated greenhouse gas emissions. Currently available PET food trays are not reusable, they are difficult and uneconomical to recycle mechanically – so in reality they mostly go to landfill or incineration. With Confoil we found the ideal partner to develop a solution that proves the feasibility of a food package that combines sustainability with high technical performance.

ecovio® PS 1606 can be used in applications with cold or hot contents as well as for bowls and plates with dry, solid, fluid or fatty contents. BASF offers ecovio® grades for both extrusion coating and lamination technology. Depending on the ecovio® grade used in combination with the type of paper or board, home and industrial compostable solutions are possible.

Market introduction at the Australian Organics Recycling Association Conference

The DualPakECO® trays were introduced to the market at the Annual Conference 2022 of the Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) in Glenelg, Australia. On this occasion, the chairman of AORA, Peter Wadewitz, said: “The Australian standards are the most stringent ones for compostable plastics in the world. Commercial composting is an integral part of a circular economy where organic waste can be turned into a valuable resource rather than be disposed of in landfill or incinerated. Compost from organic recycling can be used in agriculture to improve degraded soils and return organic matter to soils ensuring future productivity.” The new packaging solution is suitable for organics recycling such as the Australian FOGO (Food Organics and Garden Organics). This is a kerbside collection service that allows food scraps to be added to the garden waste bin so it can be recycled into high-quality compost. Through the National Waste Policy Plan, Australia’s states and territories have committed themselves to increase FOGO collection services, agreeing to introduce them to all households and businesses by the end of 2023.

About Confoil

Confoil is a family-owned Australian manufacturer of food packaging since 1966. Our humble beginnings commenced as we embarked on the design and manufacturing of a wide variety of foil trays and containers. Since that time, our diverse range of products has grown substantially, with our range now consisting of more than 450 individual food packaging items. We supply to a variety of customers, from distributors to food manufacturers. Our head office and manufacturing facility is located in Bayswater, Melbourne. Confoil employs approximately 150 people and also has operations throughout New Zealand. Further information at www.confoil.com.au.

About BASF

At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Around 111,000 employees in the BASF Group contribute to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio comprises six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of €78.6 billion in 2021. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts (BASFY) in the U.S. Further information at www.basf.com.

Source: https://www.basf.com/global/en/media/news-releases/2022/06/p-22-270.html

Compost Connect is a brand-agnostic and not-for-profit initiative that aims to divert organic waste from landfill by connecting foodservice businesses to composters and certified compostable packaging suppliers.

Businesses can sign up by heading to the Compost Connect website, typing in their suburb or postcode, finding the nearest compost partner to them and requesting a quote to start their organic waste collection. Compost Connect club members can also get a free front-of-house compost bin and signage to let their customers know they are composting.

The platform also connects end users to responsible cafes and councils who compost, end users can find this by simply looking up their postcodes on the Compost Club Members Map.

Since the launch of the platform in May 2021, Compost Connect has achieved amazing results. They have partnered with 28 organic waste collectors across Australia and New Zealand and 18 distributors of compostable packaging.

A whopping 348 businesses have signed up and joined the Compost Club, participating in the diversion of an average of 2,700 Tons of organic waste per year.

Education on organics recycling and how composting fits into the circular economy, is a top priority for Compost Connect. Resources are shared via the blog, Facebook & Instagram and a
newsletter.

With an average of 6,000 website sessions per month and a gain of 8,915 followers on Social Media in the past year, it’s clear the topic of composting is rapidly gaining momentum.

Compost Connect also maps out councils providing Food Organics and Garden Organics
collection to their communities. From their latest study, out of the 536 councils in Australia, 108 currently offer a FOGO/green bin service to their residents, from which 73 accept compostable packaging. Check if your council offers composting on this page.

The next steps for this organisation are to grow the number of partnerships with composters and foodservice businesses, encourage councils to rapidly implement food organics collection, and to involve all stakeholders in the wider value chain, with the goal to develop Compost Connect as a true Product Stewardship for compostable packaging. Visit the website for more information and help fight climate change by composting!

Source: Woolworths Group

South Australia is the first state where Woolworths has introduced compostable fruit and vegetable bags, now available in the fruit and veg departments of all 67 stores across the state.

According to Woolworths, the switch has the potential to divert up to 70 tonnes of plastic waste from landfill each year, with customers now able to compost their Woolworths fruit and vegetable bags in their council-provided green bins for food and garden organics where available, or in their own household DIY compost.

With around 80 per cent of South Australian households having access to council-provided organic bins, compostable alternatives offer an effective way to reduce plastic waste. The compostable bags have been made in South Australia by local manufacturer and Member of the Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA), Biobag, and are verified to Australian Standards for commercial (AS4736) and home compostable (AS5810) plastics.

Woolworths South Australia Assistant State Manager, Elisha Moore said: “We’re growing greener across our stores and this represents a big breakthrough in sustainable shopping for our customers here in South Australia.

“We’re thrilled to be the first major supermarket in South Australia to roll out compostable fruit and veg bags in all our stores statewide as we work together with our customers to reduce plastic waste and protect the environment.

“South Australia leads the nation in household access to council-provided composting, so it’s a great place to launch sustainable initiatives like these new bags.

“We’d love to see access to composting across the country increase in line with South Australia to create opportunities to offer green compostable alternatives like this more broadly.”

Deputy Premier of South Australia and Environment Minister, Hon. Susan Close said: “South Australia was the logical choice for Woolworths to launch these certified compostable fruit and vegetable bags in all their stores across the state, because all our metropolitan councils in Adelaide accept food waste in their green bins and so do many regional and country councils.

“No other state in Australia has this level of waste and recycling available to households.”

The new bags are designed to be used as liners in council-provided food scrap ‘kitchen caddies’. Customers can check with their local council to find out whether their kerbside collection services include composting.

Woolworths recently trialled the compostable fruit and vegetable bags in a small number of South Australian stores, receiving positive feedback from customers. More than 75 per cent of those surveyed during the trial said it was important that Woolworths provide compostable bags to customers.

Through its ongoing work to reduce plastic, Woolworths has removed around 800 tonnes of plastic from produce packaging since 2018. The retailer has committed to making 100 per cent of its own brand packaging recyclable, compostable or reusable by the end of 2023.

In 2018, Woolworths was the first national supermarket to phase out single-use plastic shopping bags and straws across the country, resulting in more than 9 billion bags and 280 million straws being taken out of circulation to date.

Source: Woolworths Group

 

The Cardia BioPlastics team would like to welcome Deanna Crawshaw. Deanna joins the Cardia team as National Sales Manager responsible for Council and Retail business. She will play an instrumental role in supporting the next stage of growth for the Cardia Bioplastics business as Cardia seeks to accelerate plans to launch new brands in Australia and International markets.

Deanna comes to Cardia with many years’ experience in developing retail sales within the FMCG and consumer goods industry. Her knowledge extends to marketing and manufacturing, and she has worked across many products from cookware to organic skincare. With a degree in chemistry and a core competency in building strong working relationships, she is well positioned to become an important contributor to progressing the cause for Bioplastics.

Deanna is passionate about the global movement towards Bioplastics and the opportunity that working with Cardia provides to contribute towards this. Key to her role will be working with Councils to support the introduction of compostable bags as they adopt food diversion programs, diverting food waste from general waste to organic waste processors. Also, key will be working with Retailers to give consumers increased access to compostable products as they seek more sustainable alternatives to conventional PE-based products.

Deanna looks forward to working with the ABA and its members and AORA to progress the case for Compostable Product use and associated waste treatment infrastructure in the place of conventional plastics.

Cardia is excited to welcome Deanna to the team and looks forward to her contribution to this pivotal next phase of Bio Plastics growth.

Australian brands are reacting to the Australian Government’s 2025 targets to make all packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable, causing interest around certified compostable packaging solutions to skyrocket and resulting in a strong need to ensure that organics recycling infrastructure, such as composting is also prepared well in advance. BASF has been researching certified compostable and therefore biodegradable polymers to support the development of certified compostable packaging solutions for more than a quarter of a century.

Certified compostable packaging currently only accounts for around 0.1% of plastic packaging on the market in Australia. According to the Australian Organics Recycling Association’s March 2020 Australian Organics Recycling Industry Report, the industry continues to grow by 3.4% each year compared to Australia’s average population growth rate across the same time of 1.4%, recently revealed in the which undertook a macro-economic analysis of the Industry.

In addition, the total estimated greenhouse gas (GHG) savings from organics recycling in Australia in 2018-19 is approximately 3.8 million tonnes of CO2-e. These GHG savings are considered equivalent to 5.7 million trees that would have to be planted to absorb the same amount of CO2 or the GHG emissions that 876,663 cars would produce in a year.

A Supporter Member of the Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) and a founding Member and Platinum Plus Sponsor of the Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA), the peak industry body for the recycled organics industry, BASF has a long history in Australia with certified compostable solutions enabling source separation of food or other organic waste and diverting this valuable resource from landfill. Some of these solutions can be commonly used in certified compostable packaging applications, where the packaging is too contaminated with organic waste to economically recycle conventionally and is also not reusable, as a result of this food soiling. Rowan Williams, Regional Market Development Manager- Biopolymers at BASF says that while solutions exist, having the correct infrastructure available for collection and processing of this organic waste and the certified compostable packaging is critical in responding to the increasing amounts of source-separated food waste.

“We’re seeing some councils around Australia commit to introducing Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) kerbside collection, and more are considering every day, but some are still projecting this out to 2030 – it makes it difficult to implement widespread certified compostable packaging for kerbside collection as we then rely on consumers to have home composting systems. As a consequence, food soiled packaging is not recycled and food waste generally ends up in landfill. We have to do better than this.

“This provides the critical infrastructure our industry needs – at the moment when we look at wide-spread solutions it’s often a question as to what will come first, the compostable packaging so we build the demand, or the infrastructure so it ends up correctly source separated. There is some great work happening in this space, and we have been working closely with the relevant Associations, and government stakeholders, but there is still plenty more to be done,” explained Williams.

Williams, who is also the President of the Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) – the peak Industry body for the appropriate use of bioplastics industry in ANZ believes the key to the success of certified compostable products is using it in the most appropriate application coupled with consumer and stakeholder education. He explains that oxo-degradable, biodegradable and certified compostable are not the same thing.

“Unless products intended for organics recycling at end of life are certified to the requirements of the Australian Standards either AS 4736 for commercial composting or AS 5810 for home composting, then there is no certainty that these products will perform appropriately in that end of life and they are not considered suitable for use in organics recycling. The ABA, the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) and the Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) have come together to develop new Australian guidelines to help businesses make better choices about using certified compostable packaging appropriately,” Williams adds.

In preparation for the arrival of the new guidelines, BASF Australia completed the verification of various grades of its compostable and partly biobased bioplastic, ecovio®, confirming these grades meet all of the requirements of the Australian Standards, AS 4736 and AS 5810.

Through the industry’s commitment to working with stakeholders, there’s a lot of exciting potential in this space.

Why choose ecovio®?

The main application areas for ecovio® are certified compostable films such as organic waste bags, multiple use fruit and vegetable bags, (first for shopping, then for organic waste) and agricultural mulch films. Furthermore, certified compostable packaging solutions such as paper-coating and injection moulded products can be produced with ecovio®, all of which assist in diverting food soiled packaging and organic waste from landfill to organics recycling.

Fruit and vegetable bags

Fruit and vegetable bags made of ecovio® are more than simple carrier bags: They can be used to buy fruit and vegetables at the supermarket in a safe and hygienic way, to carry them home and also they can extend the shelf life of some fruit and vegetables in the fridge. Re-used as organic waste bags they can improve the collection and recovery of organic food waste.

Agricultural mulch film

For agricultural use, BASF offers the certified soil biodegradable ecovio® M 2351 for mulch films. Mulch films made of ecovio® M 2351 can remain in the soil and ploughed in after mechanical harvest: Naturally occurring soil microbes like bacteria or fungi recognize the structure of the film as food they can metabolize.

Paper coating applications

The certified compostable and mostly biobased polymer has a lot of advantages. In extrusion coating, ecovio® PS offers a low coating thickness at high coating rates and process stability. The excellent adhesion of ecovio® PS to many types of paper and paperboard, its temperature stability up to 100 °C and sealing capacity comparable to PE make it ideally suited for the production of paper- and paperboard based packaging – whether in cups for hot or cold drinks, fast food or other food packaging.

ecovio® in compostable multilayer films

In combination with other BASF technologies, certified compostable multilayer films can be produced with ecovio®. Due to its good barrier properties, these films are suited for a wide range of food packaging, and at the same time offer an alternative end-of-life option.

 

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.

The manufacturing upgrades increase NatureWorks’s responsiveness to rapidly evolving market dynamics and high demand for Ingeo™️ (PLA) biomaterials.

MINNETONKA, Minn., September 22, 2020 – NatureWorks, the world’s leading manufacturer of low-carbon PLA biomaterials, today announced a slate of manufacturing technology projects, including lactide monomer purification efficiency, that will increase the availability of the full Ingeo™️ (PLA) biomaterials portfolio by 10 percent. Installation is currently underway at NatureWorks’s facility in Blair, Nebraska, the world’s first and largest commercial-scale PLA manufacturing plant. The projects will be completed by the end of 2021.

The expanded availability will support growth in markets that demand sustainable, low-carbon materials and require the high-performance attributes that Ingeo is uniquely suited to deliver. These markets include 3D printing and nonwoven hygiene masks as well as compostable coffee capsules, teabags, and coated-paper food serviceware.

“The market continues to rapidly evolve due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the undiminished demand for sustainable, bio-based alternatives to petrochemical-based plastics,” said Rich Altice, President & CEO of NatureWorks. “For NatureWorks to satisfy this unprecedented demand, this purification technology is one of many additional capital improvements we are actively working on at our facility in Blair. At the same time, we continue to pursue a potential future second manufacturing site outside the U.S. to serve our growing international markets.”

Ingeo polylactic acid is made in a multi-step process that begins with using annually renewable plants to turn greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into long-chain sugar molecules. Dextrose derived from the plant sugar molecules, is fermented into lactic acid that then undergoes a proprietary two-step process to transform it into lactide, the monomer for Ingeo polylactic acid polymer.

Commitment to Sustainable Agriculture

The additional annually renewable feedstock sourced to supply the new manufacturing projects will become certified by the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification System (ISCC) to the ISCC PLUS standard of best practices in agricultural production by 2025.

As part of NatureWorks’s participation in the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment and commitment to sustainable agriculture, they announced a new initiative in 2019 to ensure that by 2020 100 percent of the agricultural feedstock used for Ingeo made at their Blair, Nebraska production site will be certified as environmentally and socially sustainable by the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification System (ISCC). By 2025, NatureWorks also committed that 100 percent of new feedstocks for additional manufacturing capacity will be certified as sustainably and responsibly managed via an independent third-party administered program.

NatureWorks was the first biopolymer manufacturer to become certified to the new ISCC PLUS standard in 2012, and currently has more than 60 percent of its agricultural feedstock certified.

For more information about NatureWorks and Ingeo, visit www.natureworksllc.com. Follow NatureWorks on Twitter (@natureworks) for the latest updates.

About NatureWorks

NatureWorks is an advanced materials company offering a broad portfolio of renewably sourced polymers and chemicals. With performance and economics that compete with oil-based materials, naturally advanced Ingeo™ biomaterials are valued for their unique functional properties and used in products from coffee capsules and appliances to tea bags and 3D printing filament. NatureWorks is jointly owned by Thailand’s largest ASEAN leading integrated petrochemical and refining company, PTT Global Chemical, and Cargill, which provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world. For more information visit natureworksllc.com or follow NatureWorks on Twitter at @natureworks.

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

 

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.