Compostable Cups Are Compostable & Recyclable

Poke biocane bowls with wooden cutlery and napkin

BioPak would like to set the record straight – compostable packaging isn’t some fanciful idea we dreamed up in isolation to annoy the waste industry, as suggested by a recent article in the Age. It is part of a worldwide movement to reduce waste to landfill.

And contrary to attention-grabbing headlines, our BioCups are recyclable in the paper recycling of many councils and compostable at many commercial facilities across Australia.

Why use compostable packaging?

We are in an age of excessive consumption. Plastic debris fills our oceans with lethal effects on birds and marine life and these fragments are making their way up to our food chain into our bodies. There is currently four times more plastic in our oceans than plankton. We can no longer ignore the problem and we should all be looking for solutions.

One such solution is to embrace innovative materials developed to fit into a circular economy where all material resources are recycled or composted rather than lost or buried.

At BioPak, we provide compostable alternatives to the standard plastic single-use foodservice packaging derived from finite fossil resources. Our products are designed for a circular economy, using rapidly renewable and sustainably sourced material that can be recycled in commercial compost facilities along with any food scraps.

Compostable solutions

We do not want to get derailed from our mission to replace durable plastics in foodservice packaging due to the limitations of an out-dated waste management infrastructure that prefers to landfill resources. It is imperative that consumers, business and important government work together to replace the current linear model where we extract resources at a rate faster than they can be replenished and then bury them.

This is not futuristic thinking, this is actually happening in the USA and Europe. In France, they have committed to banning all non-compostable foodservice packaging by 2020. In India, they have done the same. In Germany and the Netherlands, there is almost zero waste going to landfill.

Our BioCups are lined with bioplastic and have been certified commercially compostable. There are nine major commercial composts in Australia that are processing our cups into nutrient-rich compost. They service many councils, venues, schools and festivals. There are many more privately managed in-vessel composts in operation, like Zoos Victoria and Sunshine Coast University who compost all their food waste along with compostable packaging.

An increasing number of councils in Australia are collecting compostable packaging in their residential green waste. Their remit is to remove all waste, especially organic waste from landfill. Contrary to popular belief landfills are designed to store waste, not break it down. In fact, the decomposition of organic waste creates methane gas, which is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Our cups are certified commercially compostable but are not suitable for home composts as home composts may not maintain the ideal conditions required to process bioplastic. Home composting is a positive way to reduce our individual environmental impacts but the problem of organic waste ending up in landfill will never be solved by the increase in home composting alone. There is a significant amount of organic waste produced away from the home environment, as well as collected by councils from homes, and in order to process the 7 million tonnes of organic waste produced in Australia every year composting needs to be implemented on an industrial scale. Commercial composting ensures the rapid and efficient recycling of organic materials in large volumes.

Recycling solutions

Contrary to recent media assumptions – all types of a paper cup (bioplastic lined and regular plastic lined) are being recycled in residential and public recycling bins as confirmed by forty councils across Australia, including Byron Bay Shire, Brisbane City, all ACT, Perth City and Shell Harbour. Bioplastic is a non-toxic, plant-based material that easily separates from the paper during the re-pulping process.

Talk to your local Councillor to find out why they can’t recycle paper cups in your area when in so many others across Australia they already do.

Find a composter and/or recycler near you »