What is Compostable Packaging?
Compostable packaging is a kind of packaging that can decompose into natural elements in a compost environment, without leaving any toxicity or harmful residue. It is different from biodegradable packaging, which may take a long time to break down and may still release chemicals into the soil.
Compostable packaging is made from organic materials such as corn starch, bamboo, mushroom, cardboard, paper, and compostable bioplastics. These materials are derived from renewable sources and can be processed by microorganisms into compost, a nutrient-rich fertilizer that can benefit plants and soil.
Compostable packaging has many advantages for the environment and businesses. It can help reduce carbon footprint, lower shipping costs, ease disposal, and improve brand image. However, it also has some challenges, such as competing with food supply, having a limited shelf life, and requiring specific composting conditions.
If you want to switch to compostable packaging for your products, you should look for certification labels that indicate the product meets the standards for compostability. You should also educate your customers on how to properly dispose of the packaging in a home or industrial composting facility.
What is PFAS and how is it used?
PFAS are a group of over 4,000 chemicals characterized by highly stable carbon-fluorine bonds. These compounds are used in various applications due to their effectiveness in resisting heat, stains, grease, and water.
Some common uses of PFAS include:
- Stain and Water Protection: PFAS are used to provide stain and water protection for carpets, fabric, furniture, and apparel.
- Paper Coating: PFAS are found in paper coatings, including some food packaging materials. They make paper resistant to oil, grease, and water.
Health Risks: Exposure to PFAS has been linked to immune system suppression, lower birth weight, and an increased risk of some cancers. These chemicals can migrate into food from packaging materials.
Environmental Impact: When food packaging containing PFAS is discarded, it can end up in landfills or be incinerated. In both cases, PFAS can contaminate water, soil, or air.
In Australia, the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) has developed an Action Plan to phase out PFAS in fibre-based food contact packaging by December 31, 2023. This voluntary industry-led approach aims to improve the sustainability of Australian packaging and enhance recycling and composting streams.
While PFAS provide useful properties for various industrial applications, their persistence in the environment and potential health risks have led to efforts to reduce their use in food packaging materials. It's essential for consumers to be aware that these chemicals are currently used in some cheaper imported versions of ‘Compostable Packaging’, primarily sugarcane fibre and bagasse products.
At Alpha Packaging (Aust) we supply and promote the use of PFAS free products for our clients.
What are the benefits of industrial food packaging?
Industrial food packaging is the process of using materials and technologies to protect and preserve food products during transportation, storage, and consumption. Industrial food packaging has many benefits for society, such as:
- It extends the shelf life of food products, reducing food waste and spoilage, which saves resources and lowers greenhouse gas emissions.
- It prevents the spread of food-related diseases by creating a barrier against contamination and harmful gases.
- It provides information about the nutrition, ingredients, and use of food products, helping consumers make informed choices and comply with regulations.
- It offers convenience and ease of use for consumers, who can enjoy safe and high-quality food without access to proper food storage facilities.
- It enhances the branding and marketing of food producers, who can differentiate their products and communicate their values to customers.
Industrial food packaging is constantly evolving to meet the changing needs and demands of consumers, regulators, and the environment. New innovations in smart packaging, such as sensors, tags, and indicators, enable better traceability, quality control, and customer engagement throughout the food supply chain. Moreover, industrial food packaging is becoming more sustainable by using energy-efficient production methods, recyclable or biodegradable materials, and circular economy principles.
Industrial food packaging is not only a necessity but also an opportunity to improve the health and well-being of people and the planet.