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Plastic Free July - Are Bioplastics The Answer?

Posted by Jonathan Hart on

Plastic Free July

Imagining a world without plastic waste is becoming ever closer. Next month we will be among tens of thousands of environment lovers who celebrate Plastic Free July and take up the no-plastic challenge, and just this month a Senate Inquiry in Australia proposed a ban on single-use plastic by 2023. Read more on that blog here.

Our single-use tableware is made of cornstarch, sugarcane, bamboo pulp, areca palm leaf and/or paper. They are mostly home compostable and in some cases commercially compostable. This means they can go in your green bin (call your local council to find out, or try a local commercial composter) or they can be sent back to us where we shall commercially compost it for you. Find out more here.

Single-use plastic - made from petroleum - only goes to landfill. Our compostable tableware, including coffee cups, clear cups, lids and cutlery, made from Ingeo cornstarch bioplastic, will be turned into soil provided they hit the right green waste stream.

Floating around the Interweb this month is a video telling the world the "truth" about bioplastics.

In the video, which has now gone viral, the presenter mentions that bioplastics - and she is referring directly to clear cups, lids and cutlery made from cornstarch - should not be put into the home compost or recycling bin.

This is true for these products only, but not all other tableware which is home compostable and/or recyclable.

However, the interweb is small these days, and the video, intended for American audiences and relevant to them only, is not so relevant for us here in Australia.

For instance:

  • Nearly all Adelaide Councils accept these products in their green bin waste stream
  • A growing number of councils are now accepting these products in the green bin waste stream (call yours to find out if it does).
  • They are made from renewable plant materials.
  • We have recently launched a service where you can send the used tableware back to us and we'll compost it for you.
  • BioPak has rolled out their composting service where they now pick up used compostable tableware from cafes and restaurants and turn it into compost.
  • Even if it does end up in landfill it will still biodegrade, it just takes a little longer.

Single-use plastic tableware has got to go, but it is our opinion that at events and parties not everyone can be supplied with or bring along reusables, and so this is where compostable tableware and packaging products, and the composting infrastructure to process it once disposed of correctly, must continue to be improved.

Yes, reusable is best, but is it possible to remind the entire nation to remember to use their keep cup every single time? Does an event at a local park or reserve need washing up facilities to wash the dirty plates, cups and cutlery?

We like the phrase, don't let good be the enemy of perfect. And perhaps compostables are already good enough - we just need to continue to build a composting infrastructure that collects and processes them well.