The good news! Recently, we found a new Australian innovation, Oysterlean.
Oysterlean is a game-changing product derived by refining a readily available bio-marine waste material sourced from seashells that results in a bio-renewable resin capable of replacing oil-based plastics.
Refining this non-food bio-marine waste material as a bio-renewable substitute not only reduces the need for fossil fuel-based resins, Oysterlean provides improved sustainability performance to plastics packaging in three areas of our sustainability mission. Environment application, cost stability and production compatibility.
The Good & Bad
Yes, plastic is non-biodegradable but is fully recyclable. With excellent worldwide community awareness in the need to reuse, separate and recycle. It is impermeable to moisture. It meets the Australian Standards for food packaging. It is robust, lightweight and easy to transport long distances. This decreases the amount of energy used and greenhouse emissions produced, compared with other products (glass for instance).
There is no denying the environmental problems posed by single-use plastics. But this is often a distraction to the far more significant issue of climate change. Plastics are not necessarily all evil. It is usually in the way we dispose of them.
Glass is another product that could be considered a contender. It meets all the Australian Standards for food packaging, is reusable and recyclable. But it is heavy, brittle, and breakable, leading to poor portability. It is also costly to transport. This has two effects. It ends up in the hip pocket of the consumer. And, the environment suffers due to increased greenhouse emission.
Most modern-day tin cans are made of steel with a tin lining or plastic coating. This is done to stop the steel from corroding. Tin can react with foods, so needs an extra coating to reduce the likelihood of corrosion. It also ensures it is up to the Australian Standards for packaging of food. Tin is durable and tamper-proof if the top is welded. But, it is heavier than other products. This leads to increased transportation costs and transport-related emissions.
It is recyclable but not biodegradable. Although Australia’s metals recovery and recycling rates are high (National Waste Report 2018), it has been shown that aluminium and tin cans combined only account for two percent of the overall metals recovery. So, it is more likely that these cans end up in landfills, which is problematic due to not being biodegradable.
Paper and Paperboard
Paper can be produced into packaging that has excellent strength to weight characteristics. But it has a reduced barrier to light, which can affect the contents of food. Paper is low weight, therefore low cost in transport emissions. However, it is moisture sensitive and loses strength with increasing humidity. Most food product paper packaging is composite with plastic linings. This proves difficult and expensive in the separation process when the product is disposed. It leads to the whole product ending up in landfill, non-biodegradable and wasted. There is also the tree to think about that it came from. How sustainable is the source?
Where to from here?
We will always remain open to researching new and improved packaging solutions that enter the market. It is the responsibility of all of us to do the right thing. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. When we do this collectively, significant change can happen.
In the meantime, we’ve teamed up with CarbonClick, a New Zealand company making it easy for people and businesses to help fight climate change.
CarbonClick looks like a green button at checkout. When you click it, a small contribution is added to your basket which purchases carbon offsets. These offsets reduce the environmental impact of the carbon emissions related to the purchase. CarbonClick’s offsets fund forest restoration, tree planting, and renewable energy projects here and around the world. We’re proud to be part of the fight against climate change.
We are also making our own contributions to CarbonClick to reduce our environmental footprint, as well as changing our practices to reduce it. We hope you’ll join us in creating a sustainable future, by choosing to CarbonClick with your purchase.