Frequently asked questions: Products

Products

Cartons & Sleeves

What is the minimum order quantity?

Our minimum order quantity is one carton.

Can I order sleeves or half cartons?

 Unfortunately, we only sell full cartons. Some of our distributors sell some BioPak items by the sleeve. Please get in touch with our team at sales@biopak.com.au with your location and we can send you more information.

What are product dimensions and carton dimensions?

Product dimensions are the actual measurements of the product itself. The carton dimensions are the packaging dimensions of the box the product comes in. This measurement is used for shipping computations. Both product and carton dimensions are listed in the Product Specifications on all product pages on the website. Contact us for more details on partnerprogram@biopak.com

Where can I find the product specifications, barcodes, carton dimensions and weights?

Both product and carton dimensions are listed in the Product Specfications on all product pages on the website. Contact us for more details partnerprogram@biopak.com

Is it possible to get a mixed pack of the cup sizes?

No, unfortunately not. Our items are sold by carton and we only sell one cup size per carton.

Sugarcane

What is sugarcane pulp?

Sugarcane pulp, or bagasse, is made from the crushed stalks remaining after the juice is extracted from sugarcane. It is a compostable, rapidly renewable and biodegradable resource. It is a rapidly renewable resource that would have otherwise been burned after the juice has been extracted for sugar production.

What are the benefits of sugarcane pulp?

Sugarcane pulp is an innovative raw material that is rapidly renewable and sustainably sourced. Some of the benefits of sugarcane pulp include:

  • Sustainable, natural and rapidly renewable resource
  • Using sugarcane pulp rather than virgin wood protects forests (which are endangered through harvesting)
  • Sugarcane pulp is more environmentally friendly than plastic because atmospheric CO2 is sequestered by the sugarcane plants
  • Only 1.5 tonnes of sugarcane pulp is required to produce 1 tonne of paper pulp versus 5 tonnes of wood needed to produce 1 tonne of paper pulp
  • Sugarcane pulp packaging production requires fewer toxic chemicals than packaging made from virgin material, such as wood
  • Sugarcane pulp can make a side-trip from the cycle of life to serve as paper, then re-enter the cycle as compost to nourish new crops

More information:

Is the BioCane range recyclable?

Our sugarcane products can be recycled in the paper recycling stream if not too soiled, like a pizza box.

Is the BioCane range compostable?

Yes! Our sugarcane range is certified home compostable (AS5810) and industrially compostable (AS4736) to Australian standards.

What is the shelf life of BioCane?

Our BioCane sugarcane range has an indefinite shelf life if kept in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight.

Can you heat seal BioCane container bases?

Yes, our sugarcane pulp container can be heat-sealed.

We do not sell heat sealing products. Our customers have recommended the below:

  • Mylar film is a special heat seal lidding film with an adhesive layer incorporated into the film – it is not a separate adhesive that is required.
  • The grade is Mylar OL3
  • Compostable film Natureflex

Can you freeze BioCane packaging?

BioPak's BioCane range is freezer friendly but the packaging has minimal gas and moisture barrier properties. We recommend customers test the suitability of the packaging for their freezing requirements.

Can you heat BioCane products in an oven?

Yes, BioCane can withstand temperatures of up to 220 degrees Celcius for 20 minutes. However, BioCane is not suitable for reheating food from frozen.

Can you heat BioCane products in a microwave?

Yes, the BioCane range can be heated in a microwave.

Is BioCane suitable for retail use?

Our products are designed for serving takeaway food. They have minimal gas and moisture barrier properties, and while the materials can be frozen, they may not be suitable for storing foods. We always recommend customers test the suitability of the product for any retail application.

Is your sugarcane pulp made from GMO materials?

No, BioPak's BioCane range is produced from GMO-free feedstock.

How are the sugarcane pulp products bleached?

White sugarcane pulp
White bagasse is bleached, but with a chlorine-free process. Oxygen and hydrogen peroxide are the main bleaching agents.


Brown sugarcane pulp
The brown sugarcane pulp is unbleached.

Why are you selling plastic/PET lids?

All of our products are certified carbon neutral and 90% of our products are made from compostable, rapidly renewable plant-based materials. Unfortunately for some applications/products, there is not a suitable bio-based option – in these cases, we select materials such as PET that are widely accepted for recycling.

We take care to not intentionally mislead consumers or misrepresent our products. All non-bio-based plastic items are clearly marked with the relevant plastic recycling codes on product and marketing collateral. Bioplastics are relatively new to the market and there is significant innovation in this space. We are always seeking out and testing new, more sustainable, functional and cost-effective materials and as soon as a suitable replacement is found for any of our non-bio-based materials we will not hesitate to make the change.

Our philosophy is to not let the perfect be the enemy of good. Through ongoing incremental changes and constant improvement, we remain committed to transitioning an industry away from the current linear model towards a circular economy.

We are working on a heat-safe PLA bioplastic alternative to replacing all clear plastic PET lids.

Paper

What is FSC™ paper?

The Forest Stewardship Council™️ (License code FSC™️ C110879) is an international non-profit that acts to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.

FSC™️ forest management certification confirms that the forest is being managed in a way that preserves the natural ecosystem and benefits the lives of local people and workers, all while ensuring it remains economically viable. BioPak's paper straws, BioBoard range, napkins and wooden cutlery are made from FSC™️ paper, pulp or wood.

More information:

What is the shelf life of BioPak paper products?

Our bioplastic-lined paper cups, bowls, noodle boxes, lunch boxes and sandwich wedges have a 12-month shelf-life from the production date. Our paper straws, napkins and cardboard (BioBoard boxes and trays) products have an indefinite shelf-life if kept cool and dry.

BioCups: What are BioCups made from?

The paper is made from virgin tree pulp from trees in sustainably managed plantations.

The coating is Ingeo™ PLA (Polylactic Acid) derived from corn and beet starch. PLA emits up to 80% less carbon and uses 52% less non-renewable energy than conventional plastic.

Our BioCups are certified industrially compostable to Australian AS4736 compost standards.

More information:

BioCups: What's the difference between a BioCup and a 'degradable' cup?

Degradable cups use additives to promote the degradation of plastics. The use of additives to promote the degradation of plastics does not provide any environmental benefits and is not a solution to plastic pollution. Over 150 organisations worldwide have backed a call to ban this type of packaging.

Claims that degradable cups will completely biodegrade in landfills after 2 years are not certified by third-party regulators. Degradable cups are tested using the ASTM D5511 protocol. ASTM D5511 is not a certification and does not guarantee that the product will decompose.

At BioPak, we only make real-world environmental and sustainability claims that can be independently verified through a robust and rigorous scientific process. We go to great lengths to ensure our packaging products align with the principles of a circular economy, and our BioCups are commercially compostable to the AS4736 Australian standard.

More information:

BioCups: Are BioCups recyclable?

While our paper cups are technically recyclable, when packaging is contaminated with beverage residue, it is generally classed as contamination and will end up in a landfill. Moreover, recent bans on plastic exports and a lack of local recycling infrastructure have raised uncertainty about the future of recycling on a global scale. To get the most up-to-date answer, it is best to ask your local council whether they can accept PLA lined paper cups in their recycling bin.

Our products are designed for a circular economy, using rapidly renewable and sustainably sourced material that return nutrients back into the soil at the end of their life. Our BioPak Compost Service empowers businesses to tackle waste responsibly and turn BioPak's compostable packaging and organic waste into nutrient-rich compost.

BioCups: Are BioCup lids recyclable?

Industrially compostable PLA lids:

  • BioPak's black and white PLA lids are certified commercially compostable to the Australian AS4736 compost standard.
  • PLA lids are technically recyclable, however, Australia does not currently have the recycling infrastructure to process PLA.

Recyclable white PS lids:

  • White PS plastic (code 6) is widely accepted in curbside recycling.
  • We supply PS lids as some cafes are not willing to pay the premium cost for a compostable plant-based bioplastic lid.

Non-recyclable black PS lids:

  • Black PS lids are not recyclable in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Material sorting facilities are unable to detect and separate black plastic from the mixed waste stream.

BioCups: Are BioCup lids compostable?

Yes, some of our lids are commercially compostable. We have two different lid materials: regular PS plastic and plant-based bioplastic.

Compostable PLA Lids
We offer certified commercially compostable Ingeo™ lids – a bioplastic made from plants, not oil. These bioplastic lids are certified industrially compostable to Australian AS4736 standards.

Recyclable White PS Lids
White PS plastic (code 6) is widely accepted in kerbside recycling. We supply PS lids as some cafes are not willing to pay the premium cost for a compostable plant-based bioplastic lid.

Non-Recyclable Black PS Lids
Our black PS lids are not recyclable in Australia and New Zealand (in fact, no black plastic lids are). Material sorting facilities are unable to detect and separate black plastic from the mixed waste stream. We are working with raw material suppliers and improving our manufacturing efficiencies to improve the pricing of compostable lids, phasing out plastic lids by 2025.

BioCups: Are BioCups compostable?

Yes. BioPak's BioCups are certified industrially compostable to the Australian AS4736 compost standard. This means that they will be broken down into organic matter by microorganisms within 12 weeks in industrial compost.

BioCups: Can BioCups go in a home compost?

BioCups are not suitable for home composts. Home composts may not maintain the conditions required to process bioplastic. Commercial facilities maintain sustained temperatures above 55 degrees Celsius and humidity levels above 70 per cent for the first 10 days in order to process compostable packaging.

BioCups: Can I put cold drinks in your coffee cups?

Yes, you can put cold drinks in our hot wallpaper cups, however, there is no external moisture barrier to ensure the paper doesn’t absorb any condensation and softens. Hot wallpaper cups don't have an external protection layer for the external condensation that occurs. We recommend you order samples to test if your beverages can be served in our hot wallpaper cups without any quality issues. Another alternative is trying our Cold Paper BioCups, or our clear bioplastic BioCups.

BioCups: What inks do you use?

We print with soy or water-based inks.

Benefits of these inks:

  • Soy-Based inks: It has a number of environmental benefits. Much of the soybean crop requires no irrigation, limited fixed nutrients, and leaves fewer agricultural residues than other crops. Soy ink also has low levels of VOCs, (volatile organic compounds) which helps to reduce air pollution by minimizing toxic emissions. Since naturally clearer soybean oil is available, it is possible to obtain as brightly coloured ink as by using clear petroleum distillates. By using clearer soybean oil grades, less pigment is necessary to produce the same optical effect, which reduces the overall cost of the ink. Soy ink has been found to spread approximately 15% further, reducing ink use and printer cleanup costs.
  • Water-Based inks: Oil-based inks contain PVC and phthalates that are harmful to the environment and have been linked to numerous medical disorders. They also require the use of harmful solvents in the cleaning process. Water-based inks do not contain PVC or phthalates and you don’t need solvents to clean up after they’ve been used - you can clean them with water.

BioCups: What is printed kraft look?

The printed Kraft pattern applies to the 4oz & 6oz Kraft Green Stripe Cups as well as the entire range of 80mm Green Line cups. The reason we sometimes print a kraft-look pattern onto bleached white paper is either due to the fact that unbleached kraft paper is stiffer than bleached kraft paper and it doesn't form as well on the smaller cup diameters, or as in the case of the following BioBoard range, we are unable to source FSC certified unbleached kraft board and we believe the paper source is more important than the paper colour.

For more information, visit the "Kraft vs. Printed Kraft-Look Paper Products" blog.

BioCups: What is the difference between the 8oz cup and 8oz (90mm) cups / 12oz and 12oz (90mm) cups?

Choose from a wide range of cup sizes to suit all your coffee needs. We also have smaller 12oz 80mm diameter cups for when a standard 12oz is too large. They neatly match our 6 and 8oz cups, and as a series, they all fit our small lids. We also offer a wider rimmed 8oz 90mm diameter cup that fits our large lids, alongside our standard 12, 16 and 20oz cups.

You can pick the sizes that best suit your customers and reduce inventory with a universal lid for all size options.

For more information, read the "Universal lid solutions" flyer.

BioCups: What is brim fill capacity?

In the paper cup industry, cup sizes are referred to in ounces (oz) as a standard and are used as a reference only. Depending on the manufacturer, the actual brimful capacity may vary – this is the exact measurement of liquid that fits in the cup/container when it is filled to maximum capacity or right to the brim. It is also called overflow capacity.

A study conducted by Food Standards Australia New Zealand in 2011 to estimate the average volumes for a range of takeaway coffee cup sizes demonstrated that medium or 12oz cup brim-full capacities varied from 367ml up to 425ml. Direct conversion of oz to ml for 12oz is 355ml.

We disclose the brim full capacity of our cups on our website in the product specifications. Our 12oz (80mm) brim full capacity is 355ml and our 12oz (90mm) is 405ml.

BioCups: Can I choose a specific cup design from the Art Series?

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee a certain design. We cannot sell individual art cups and cannot guarantee which prints, or which series of prints will be in each carton.

For more information, visit "BioCup Art Series" website.

BioCups: How do I get my artwork on an art cup?

BioPak is proud to support and promote the arts community with the BioCup Art Series. Every eight weeks we change the series, printing artwork from artists who deal with an environmental theme in their practice.

Our curator, Kate Armstrong, seeks out artists who explore environmental themes at the core of their practice. If you would like to send your artwork for consideration, please visit our website for more information.

BioCups: What are the benefits of participating in the Art Series for the artists?

We offering the artists promotional support – promoting their artwork and name on our cups and online.

BioBoard: What are the benefits of BioBoard?

BioBoard benefits include:

  • Certified carbon neutral
  • Made from FSC™ (License code FSC™️ C110879) certified paper. FSC™ certification confirms responsible forest management that preserves the ecosystem and benefits the lives of locals
  • Waterproof lining and clear Ingeo™ bioplastic windows which are made from plants, not oil
  • Compared to regular plastics, bioplastic emits up to 80% less carbon and uses 52% less non-renewable energy
  • Recyclable in most kerbside recycling (only products without bioplastic window or lining)

BioBoard: Is your BioBoard range recyclable?

Our BioBoard boxes and trays are recyclable in the paper waste recycling if not too soiled. Like with recycling pizza boxes, if they are too dirty (grease, cheese, etc.), you need to put them in your general bin. This applies to products without bioplastic lining or windows only.

BioBoard: Is your BioBoard range compostable?

Our BioBoard noodle and lunch boxes are certified industrially compostable to Australian and European compost standards, making them a more sustainable replacement for conventional plastic-lined takeaway containers. Our BioBoard boxes and trays without bioplastic lining are home compostable and recyclable in the paper waste when not too soiled. Like with recycling pizza boxes, if they are too dirty (grease, cheese, etc.), you need to put them in your general bin or compost them at home.

BioBoard: Are the windows on BioBoard packaging made from PLA bioplastic?

Yes, the window is PLA and most of the BioBoard range is PLA lined inside to ensure the paper doesn't absorb any condensation or softens. The sandwich wedge has a PLA window but no PLA lining.

BioNapkins: What are the benefits of your napkins?

BioNapkin range benefits include:

  • Certified carbon neutral
  • Made from FSC™️ (License code FSC™️ C110879) certified paper. FSC™ certification confirms responsible forest management that preserves the ecosystem and benefits the lives of locals
  • Can be placed in home compost bins and are widely accepted in council or commercial green bins
  • Can help reduce usage by 25% when used in our Single Saver BioDispenser

For more information, read the flyer about "Which BioNapkins fit which BioDispenser?"

BioNapkins: Are your napkins compostable?

Yes, as a paper product, our napkins can be placed in home compost bins and are widely accepted in council or commercial organics bins.

BioNapkins: Are your napkins recyclable?

No, our napkins are not accepted in the paper recycling stream as they are often soiled with food residue after use.

BioStraws: What are your straws made from?

BioPak paper BioStraws are made from 3-ply premium-grade FSC™️ (License code FSC™️ C110879) certified paper sustainably sourced from managed plantations. Unlike other paper straws on the market, they are not lined with plastic. BioStraws are recyclable, home compostable and industrially compostable.

BioStraws: What are the differences between oxo-degradable, PLA, and paper straws?

Oxo-degradable

Additives such as 'oxo' compounds are designed to fragment petroleum-based plastics into small pieces to be degraded by microorganisms. These fragmented micro-pieces contribute to micro-plastic pollution. Oxo-degradable straws should be avoided as micro-plastics have a range of detrimental environmental impacts.

PLA

PLA straws are industrially compostable and require industrial compost conditions to be processed back into organic material.

Paper

Paper straws are the most sustainable option, as they will biodegrade in the natural environment. In seawater, they will 'untwirl' relatively quickly, greatly limiting the risk of harming marine life.

More information:

BioStraws: How many sizes are available?

BioStraws are available in three sizes:

  • Cocktail (4.5x120mm)
  • Regular (6x197mm)
  • Jumbo (10x197mm)

BioStraws: Are your straws compostable?

Yes, as a paper product, BioStraws can be placed in home compost bins and are widely accepted in council or commercial organics bins.

BioStraws: Are your straws coated with plastic or bioplastic?

We do not use any coating on our BioStraws. They are uncoated and made from FSC™ (License code FSC™️ C110879) certified paper only.

Wood

What are the benefits of wooden BioCutlery?

BioCutlery benefits include:

  • Made from FSC™ certified Birchwood. FSC™ certification confirms responsible forest management that preserves the ecosystem and benefits the lives of locals.
  • Home compostable
  • Sturdy and versatile making them perfect for everything from ice cream to steak.

Did you know?

If a large music festival converted 100,000 plastic knives, fork and spoon packs to wooden BioCutlery, it would save 1.2 tonnes of plastic and reduce carbon emissions by 3.7 tonnes. That’s equivalent to the emissions produced by driving a new car halfway around the world!

Is wooden BioCutlery recyclable?

No, wooden cutlery is not recyclable.

Is wooden BioCutlery compostable?

Yes, BioPak wooden cutlery is made from 100% FSC™️ (License code FSC™️ C110879) certified Birchwood and would take the same amount of time to compost as any other woody garden waste.

What is the coated wooden BioCutlery coated with?

Our coated wooden cutlery range has been coated with a food-safe, non-toxic, compostable plant-based carnauba wax.

Bioplastic

Is the bioplastic you use GMO-free?

Some of the corn used to produce PLA bioplastic from Ingeo is made from GM crops. After converting the corn to PLA bioplastic there is no trace of any GM content and supporting evidence is available from Genescan if required.

For more information, visit the "Where does INGEO come from" website.

Clear BioCup: What are the benefits of a clear BioCup?

Benefits of our clear BioCup include:

  • They are made from plant-based bioplastic, not fossil fuels
  • Compared to regular plastic, bioplastic emits up to 80% less carbon and uses 52% less non-renewable energy in the production process
  • They are transparent and suitable for serving cold food and drinks
  • They are certified industrially compostable to the Australian AS4736 compost standard
  • They can be processed into compost in a commercial compost facility within 12 weeks

Did you know?

If a large sports stadium converted 500,000 plastic cups used at one event to BioCups, it would reduce carbon emissions by 15 tonnes and would save 5.5 tonnes of plastic. That’s equivalent to reducing the emissions produced by driving a new car around the world two and a half times and saving the weight of two elephants in plastic!

More information:

Clear BioCups: Are clear BioCups compostable?

Yes, our clear BioCups are certified commercially compostable to the Australian AS4736 compost standard. This means they will be processed into compost in 12 weeks in industrial compost conditions.

Clear BioCups: Are clear BioCups recyclable?

While our BioCups are technically recyclable, large scale infrastructure to process PLA (material category 7) is not well established. Therefore, BioCups are generally not accepted in kerbside recycling. BioCups are certified commercially compostable to the Australian AS4736 compost standards and are designed for a circular economy. The BioPak Compost Service helps BioPak customers get their compostable packaging to the facilities that can process them to ensure that the environmental benefit of compostable, single-use disposable packaging can be maximised.

Clear BioCups: What is the shelf life?

Our bioplastic cups and lids have a 12-month shelf life from the date of purchase. Bioplastics must be stored out of the direct sun and below 35°C.

Clear BioCups: What are the storage and handling instructions?

Bioplastics must be stored out of direct sun and below 35°C.

Clear BioCups: Are they approved for the service of alcohol?

Our 280, 360 and 420ml clear BioCups are weights and measures approved. This means they have been approved for the service of alcohol.

For more information, visit about "Weights and measures of alcohol" website.

Clear BioCups: Can BioPak bioplastic cups and bowls be heat-sealed?

Yes, our clear BioCups and BioBowls can be heat-sealed. The lids clip onto the outside of the cups and bowls and can clip over a heat-sealed cup or bowl.

Clear BioCups: Can I use BioPak's bioplastic cups and bowls for retail?

Our bioplastic cups and bowls do not have the appropriate barrier properties to be completely airtight and we do not recommend them in a retail setting.

Clear BioCups: Does the production of PLA from corn negatively impact food production?

NatureWorks, our PLA supplier, uses only the starch from corn for Ingeo PLA while the plant-based proteins are directed to the animal feed industry, maximizing the crop's total value.

BioCutlery: What is the difference between your 100% and 70% bioplastic cutlery?

The PSM (70%) bioplastic cutlery is a a lower cost alternative to the 100% PLA cutlery. It's made from 70% plant-based bioplastic and 30% conventional plastic.

BioCutlery: What are the benefits of PLA BioCutlery?

BioCutlery benefits include:

  • Made from plant-based bioplastic, not fossil fuels like conventional plastic cutlery
  • Made from Corbion CPLA (Crystalized Polylactic Acid), produced from a rapidly renewable starch sourced from non-GMO crops
  • Compared to regular plastics, PLA emits up to 80% fewer carbon emissions
  • Our 100% bioplastic BioCutlery is certified industrially compostable to the Australian AS4736 compost standard
  • Sturdy and versatile, making them perfect for everything from ice cream to steak

Did you know?

If a large music festival converted 100,000 plastic knives, forks and spoon packs to bioplastic cutlery, it would save 1.3 tonnes of plastic and reduce carbon emissions by 4.5 tonnes. That’s equivalent to the emissions produced by driving a new car halfway around the world!

BioCutlery: Is your PLA BioCutlery compostable?

Yes, our PLA 100% bioplastic cutlery is certified industrially compostable to the Australian AS4736 standard, which means it will be processed into compost in commercial compost conditions within 12 weeks.

BioCutlery: Is your PLA BioCutlery recyclable?

While BioCutlery is technically recyclable, the Australian recycling infrastructure does not currently accomodate bioplastic. Our PLA 100% bioplastic cutlery is certified industrially compostable to the Australian AS4736 compost standard, which means it can be processed into compost in commercial compost conditions within 12 weeks.

BioCutlery: What is the shelf life of PLA BioCutlery?

Our PLA (100%) and PSM (70% and 30% regular plastic) BioCutlery have a 6-month shelf life from date of purchase.

BioCutlery: What are the benefits of PSM cutlery?

PSM cutlery (70% PLA, 30% PSM) is carbon neutral and is a lower-cost alternative to 100% PLA cutlery.

BioCutlery: Is your PSM cutlery compostable?

No, our PSM cutlery is not compostable. It is made from 70% plant starch and 30% polypropylene. This cutlery offers a cost-effective alternative to our 100% plant-based bioplastic and contains a high content of rapidly renewable plant material but is not compostable and should go to general waste. Our 100% PLA cutlery is certified industrially compostable to the Australian AS4736 compost standard.

BioCutlery: Is your PSM cutlery recyclable?

No, our PSM cutlery is not recyclable. It is made from 70% plant starch and 30% polypropylene. This cutlery offers a cost-effective alternative to our 100% plant-based bioplastic and contains a high content of rapidly renewable plant material but is not recyclable and should go to general waste.

Bioplastic Bags: What are they made from?

Our BioPlastic Bags are made from EcoPond, a synthetic biodegradable bioplastic combined with plant-starch. The bags contain up to 25% starch and 75% of biodegradable aliphatic-aromatic copolyester.

Our BioPlastic Bags are certified home compostable to the Australian AS5810 compost standard and will break down into compost within 180 days in standard home compost bin conditions, leaving no toxic residues behind.

Bioplastic Bags: What are the benefits?

Benefits of our bioplastic bags include:

  • They are made from Ecopond – a synthetic, biodegradable bioplastic combined with plant-starch – not fossil fuels
  • They are certified home and commercially compostable

Did you know?

Australians use an estimated five billion plastic bags a year, that's just over 13 million new bags being used every day. While it’s always better to bring your own reusable bag if the 13 million plastic bags used daily were replaced with BioPlastic Bags it would save 27,000 tonnes of plastic used every day. That's equivalent to the weight of 10,000 elephants.

Bioplastic Bags: What is the difference between a 'degradable plastic bag' and a 'compostable bag'?

The lightweight single-use plastic shopping bag, supplied free-of-charge by a retailer, has been banned in a number of jurisdictions in Australia. The common aim is to reduce plastic litter. Unfortunately, to date, there has been little distinction between a polyethylene bag and an organically recyclable compostable bag.

There is a lack of understanding of the distinction between so-called 'degradable plastic bags', which disintegrate under some conditions to many thousands of small fragments (microplastics) that persist in the environment for years and a 'compostable bag' which meets the Australian third party accreditations AS4736 (commercial compostable) or AS5810 (home compostable) – which means the item will break down in a compost environment in a defined time frame to carbon dioxide, water and biomass.

The terms 'biodegradable' and 'compostable' are not equivalent or interchangeable. 'Biodegradable' simply means something will be broken down by microbes over time, which is true for most materials on the planet. An aluminium can is 'biodegradable' if you wait 200 years. Since this term applies to almost everything, it is essentially a meaningless claim and one that has been significantly abused through greenwashing. In contrast, 'compostable' means something will break down in a reasonable amount of time, leave behind no toxic residue, and safely become an additive to soil.

Our products are certified compostable by independent laboratories. Our bioplastic bags are certificated EN13432 or AS4736 is proof that our products have been tested using specific methodologies and have passed those tests.

With some justification, it can be argued that an organically recyclable/compostable bag, such as those that meet the requirements of AS4736 or AS5810 presents much less of a potential hazard than a polyethylene bag because the compostable bag can be reused for the collection and disposal of organic waste to industrial or home composting or other organic recycling, which is much needed because organic waste is a large component of waste going to landfill and by definition, a compostable bag will biodegrade in any environment where there is organic activity such as on the soil or in the sea.

Bioplastic Bags: How long will they take to breakdown/biodegrade in a landfill?

Our bags would break down at the same rate as other organic materials in landfills.

Any claim that defines a specific time frame to biodegrade in landfills is completely misleading. Landfills are not designed to promote the biodegradation of organic waste. Landfills are designed to be stable and entomb the contents. The rate of anaerobic degradation in landfills is dependent on moisture and temperature – where there is little moisture the contents can take generations to biodegrade.

Bioplastic Bags: Will the bags biodegrade in the marine environment/sea?

Whilst compostable bioplastic bags will break down faster in a marine environment (estimated within 12 months), they will still harm marine animals if they end up in the ocean.

We have a range of FSC™ certified paper bags as an alternative to our bioplastic bags. The bioplastics industry is developing rapidly and a new type of bioplastic called PHA, this material biodegrades rapidly in a marine environment and should be commercially available within two years.

Bioplastic Bags: Will the bags biodegrade with hot food in them?

The bags won't melt unless in direct contact with very high temperatures or an open flame. The strength of the bags will deteriorate rapidly if stored in a high temperature environment.

Bioplastic Bags: Can bags go into a worm farm?

No.