The war on waste ... or the war on convenience? The war on waste has touched every level of influence: consumer, business, and government. But is it really just a war on waste? Perhaps it is a war on convenience as well. In the midst of all the doom and gloom about the environment—from floods in Queensland, to droughts in New South Wales, and scorching temperatures in South Australia—we like to look at all the positive change that is happening both locally and globally. From reusable bags enforced at supermarkets to more sustainable products in the market, we think there is a lot to be positive about. However, a lot of these changes will either lose or adapt to society's love for convenience. BioPak's sustainability director Richard Fine speaks about the future of single-use packaging—and his vision for the ultimate modern convenience.
The disposable coffee cup has garnered international attention as a source of plastic pollution. The coffee cup media frenzy has increased our awareness about the environmental impact of single-use packaging. Most people are now aware that using plastics for disposable foodservice packaging is neither practical nor sustainable. Some cup manufacturers and suppliers are using this frenzy as an opportunity to promote proprietary technologies exclusive to their companies. However, for the solutions these companies are promoting to be effective, they must be available and accessible for all, and live up to their sustainability credentials. Not all do. We believe compostable alternatives provide the best solution.
While coffee cups need to be phased out, they have allowed the coffee industry to take off in recent years. Some coffee companies may feel threatened by the rise of the coffee cup as a 'war on waste' poster child. As much as the media has demonised them recently, the paper cup has been instrumental for growing and developing the coffee industry. BioPak encourages consumers to choose to reuse as much as possible—but there will always be a need for single-use foodservice packaging, providing the consumer the option for an impulse food and beverage purchase when away from home. However, we know it is possible for provide a sustainable solution. BioPak had welcomed the media focus on the non-recyclability of paper cups, as awareness has grown in consumers and has stimulated debate in industry bodies and governments. Brand owners, cafes, raw material suppliers, and cup manufacturers and distributors have all been prompted to find solutions to this problem.
BioPak believes compostable cups are the solution. We believe the future of single-use foodservice packaging is compostable. Using compostable materials simplifies waste collection and diverts food scraps and packaging material from landfill. By combining packaging redesign, and investment in composting infrastructure, we can gradually reduce the number of cups going to landfill.
To allow wider use of compostable plastics, we need better facilities to accommodate this. We need to develop adequate infrastructure that can handle separate collection of organics, and can implement composting of anaerobic digestion facilities. This infrastructure is emerging rapidly in Australia and New Zealand.
Planet Friendly Packaging acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land on which we work.