Frequently asked questions: Sustainability

Sustainability

Product

What does your tagline 'it doesn't cost the earth' mean?

Our products do not cost the earth in the way that bio-based plastics have the unique advantage over conventional plastics to reduce the dependency on limited fossil resources and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They can also be turned back into nutritious compost where facilities exist – supporting a circular economy where there is no waste. BioPak strives to minimise any negative impacts our business has on the environment. We also purchase carbon credits to compensate for the unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions created through the production, transportation and disposal of our products – the Climate Active Certification body independently verifies and reports on our emissions.

Why are the materials that BioPak uses more sustainable?

Ingeo™ bioplastic: Using Ingeo™ reduces raw materialCO2 emissions by 80% compared to regular plastic resin.

Paper and wood: Sustainably sourced from managed plantations and made from FSC™ certified sources wherever possible.

Sugarcane pulp: By-product of the sugar refining industry, which is both rapidly renewable and sustainably sourced.

Do you use palm oil or any palm derivatives in any of your products?

No, we do not use any palm oil or palm derivatives in any of our products.

What is a B Corp?

Certified B Corporations have undertaken the rigorous B Impact Assessment which explores a company’s governance, transparency, environmental and social impact. B Corps voluntarily hold themselves to a higher level of accountability in these areas. B Corps redefine success in business by competing not to be the best in the world, but to be the best for the world.

BioPak is proud to be a certified B Corp. With our focus on developing and promoting sustainable plant-based packaging solutions, we have, in the space of 10 years, disrupted an industry and continue to improve to offer the most sustainable food packaging possible.

For more information, read our blog on "What it means to be a B Corp".

Why is BioPak still using conventional plastic for some products?

Traditional plastics, which are made from fossil fuels, are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. That is why we focus on natural, renewable and fully compostable materials for our packaging. We are a signatory of the the Ellen MacArthur New Plastics Economy commitment, the NZ Plastic Packaging Declaration and an active member of the APCO working groups dedicated to find sustainable solutions for the packaging industry. We have publicly pledged to remove plastic from our range by 2025.

We are working relentlessly on phasing out any remaining plastics in our portfolio and adopt new materials as soon as they are commercially viable for our customers.

Why do BioPak products come in plastic sleeves?

The use of PE plastic sleeves is a health and safety requirement for food contact packaging. We have successfully validated the move to home compostable bioplastic sleeves to replace our current plastic ones. We are now working with suppliers to implement this across the full range.

Is it greenwashing to sell compostables when the current commercial composting infrastructure is limited?

BioPak's compostable products are certified to the Australian Industrially Compostable AS4736 standard and/or the Australian Home Compostable AS5810 standard and can be composted where the infrastructure exists. The BioPak Compost Service provides the link between BioPak customers using compostable packaging and this composting infrastructure. It is available in 15 major cities in Australia and New Zealand covering over 2100 suburbs.

BioPak is driving demand for growth of commercial composting infrastructure by proving that it is an easy local solution that works. We have launched the Compost Connect platform which aims to divert organic waste from landfill by connecting foodservice businesses to composters and certified compostable packaging suppliers. It also connects end users to responsible cafes and councils who choose composting. BioPak's long-term goal is to have council Food Organics and Garden Organics, or 'FOGO' bins, that accept compostable packaging available for residents nationally and beyond. Some councils are leading the way and already offering FOGO bins that accept compostable packaging to their residents. We are actively working with government and industry to push for this to happen. You can help by starting up a local petiton for FOGO bins that accept compostable packaging in your area.

We advocate for reusables wherever possible, but where single-use items are the most viable option, BioPak is committed to providing the most sustainable option possible.

Certifications

Why do third party certifications matter?

If consumers are choosing to pay more to reduce their environmental impact then it’s our job – as manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers – to honour that. We must all ensure our products live up to the environmental claims and offer a real environmental benefit – not just lip service that makes consumers feel good whilst inadvertently continuing to pollute the environment.

Environmental claims around biodegradability are often used in ways that are confusing or misleading with certification often omitted and time frames to decompose undefined, so it is important to back up any claims with third-party certification.

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 compostable products are certified to Australian and international standards.

For more information, visit "BioPak product and facility certifications" website.

What is carbon neutral?

All BioPak products, as well as the organisation as a whole, are carbon neutral. This means that the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production, transport and disposal of our products have been independently assessed and offset by investing in infrastructure and activities that offset carbon emissions.

BioPak is Climate Active (formerly NCOS) certified. Climate Active is the Australian Government’s rigorous and credible carbon neutral certification, recognised nationally and internationally. The Climate Active trademark assures that when you buy our products, you are taking genuine positive climate action.

Our long term view is to become climate positive. Climate positive means that an organisation goes beyond achieving net-zero carbon emissions to actually create an environmental benefit by removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Our customers who are composting their carbon neutral BioPak packaging are climate positive, as diverting food scraps and packaging from landfill prevents methane emissions from landfill and generates compost which improves soil quality, allowing it to sequester carbon from the atmosphere into the soil.

What does it mean to be certified industrially compostable?

Most BioPak products are certified industrially compostable to the Australian AS4736 compost standard. AS4736 requires that the product disintegrates after 12-weeks in industrial compost conditions and completely biodegrades after six months. That means that 90 percent or more of the material will have been converted to CO2 and the remaining share is converted into water and biomass. AS4736 also requires that the quality of the compost is not hindered by the products and is safe to be applied to land.

What's the difference between EU and AU compostable certifications?

The Australia compostability certification is the same as European Union (EU) with the addition of an earthworm eco-toxicity test.

What is ISO 14000 / Environmental Safety Certification?

ISO 14000 is a series of environmental management standards developed and published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for organizations. The ISO 14000 standards provide a guideline or framework for organizations that need to systematize and improve their environmental management efforts.

What is the ISO 22000 / HACAP / Food Safety Certification?

ISO 22000 is a food safety management system that can be applied to any organisation in the food chain, farm to fork. ISO 22000 standards require that business have a food safety management system in place.

What is the ISO 9001 / Quality Management Certification?

The ISO 9000 quality management system standards are designed to help organisations ensure that they meet statutory and regulatory requirements related to a product or service.

What is FSC™️ (Forest Stewardship Council™️) Certification?

With so many packaging products made from paper, it’s important to ensure our forests are not irreparably damaged in the creation of paper-based packaging. The Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC™) is an international non-profit that acts to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests. BioPak is FSC certified to ensure the paper-based packaging we create is produced in a sustainable manner, with minimal environmental impact. 

Give back fund

What is BioPak doing to support the growth in composting infrastructure?

The organic recycling industry is rapidly evolving. BioPak has launched Compost Connect, a brand-agnostic and not-for-profit initiative that aims to divert organic waste from landfill by connecting foodservice businesses to composters and certified compostable packaging suppliers. It also connects end users to responsible cafes and councils who choose composting.

Compost Service facilitates customers to connect with existing commercial composting infrastructure. We also support the growth of new infrastructure by driving demand for a thriving composting industry to assist in making new investment viable. We are also engaged with councils, waste collection contractors and composters to increase education and awareness for composting and reduce contamination across all waste streams.

What is the BioPak Give Back Fund?

BioPak give back 5% of profits to positive change, so when you choose BioPak products you're contributing to important social and environmental initiatives. As a responsible business, we believe we have an obligation to preserve and protect the environment and to give back and support the communities in which we operate.

Rainforest Rescue and GreenFleet

We donate 1% of Australian profits to Rainforest Rescue and 1% of New Zealand profits to GreenFleet. Since 2012, this pledge has funded the planting of over 50,000 trees and purchased 5 hectares of rainforest for protection.

Charities and Organisations

We donate 4% of profits to support the charitable community work of many of our hospitality customers, particularly those working with the homeless and disadvantaged. We are a key partner to STREAT who empower young homeless people to find their feet through employment in the hospitality industry. We support a number of projects from fantastic charities like Rosies ‘Cuppa’ program, OzHarvest, Food Bank and Christ Mission Possible. 2% of sales of our Indigenous BioCups also goes directly to CorporateConnect.AB to support Indigenous communities.

Carbon Neutral

In addition to the 5%, we spend about 2.5% of profits offsetting all carbon emissions associated with the production, transport and disposal of our products. All BioPak products are certified carbon neutral. The carbon emissions are calculated by the Carbon Reduction Institute and offset through the purchase of carbon credits.