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.

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

Both product and carton dimensions are listed in the Product Specification on all product page on the website. Contact us for more details sales@biopak.co.uk.

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

No, unfortunately not. Our items are sold by the 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 (NF T51-800) and industrially compostable (EN13432) to European standards.

Can you freeze BioCane packaging?

BioPak's BioCane range is freezer safe 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
The white sugarcane pulp products are bleached using a TCF (Totally Chlorine Free) process. TCF bleaching is carried out without any chemicals containing chlorine, avoiding the generation of organically-bound chlorine in the pulp and waste water stream. In TCF bleaching, hydrogen peroxide together with ozone or peracetic acid are the most commonly used chemicals.

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 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 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 heatsafe PLA bioplastic alternative to replace 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.

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 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 are the benefits of BioCups?

BioCup benefits include:

  • Coated with Ingeo™, a bioplastic made from plants, not oil
  • Compared to regular plastics, Ingeo™ emits up to 80% less carbon and uses 52% less non-renewable energy
  • Certified industrially compostable to European EN13432 standard
  • Can be processed into compost in a commercial compost facility within 12 weeks
  • Fits in the circular economy

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 landfill after 2 years are not certified by third-party regulators. Degradable cups are tested using 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 EN13432 European 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 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, or better yet, have a commercial composting facility.

BioCups: Are BioCup lids recyclable?

BioPak's PLA lids are made from plants, not oil, and are designed for the circular economy. They are certified compostable to EN13432 European standards. Whilst PLA can be recycled the UK does not currently have an infrastructure that supports the recycling of PLA - we recommend you check with your local council to understand what end of life solution they are able to offer.

BioCups: Are BioCup lids compostable?

BioPak's PLA lids are made from plants not oil, and are designed for the circular economy. They are certified compostable to EN13432 European standards.

BioCups: Are BioCups compostable?

Yes. BioPak's BioCups are certified industrially compostable to European EN13432 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 the double layer hot wallpaper cups to provide an extra protection layer, or trying one of the clear cups, which are made for cold beverages.

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 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.

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.

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: 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: 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.

BioStraws: What are your straws made from?

BioPak paper BioStraws are made from 4-ply premium grade paper, meaning they last longer without turning soft. Unlike other paper straws on the market, they are not lined with plastic. BioStraws are recyclable if not contaminated, home compostable and industrially compostable.

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™️ 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 is coated with carnauba wax. Carnauba wax comes from the leaves of the Brazilian Copernicia prunifera palm tree.

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 European EN13432 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 European EN13432 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 generally not accepted in kerbside recycling. BioCups are certified commercially compostable to the European EN13432 compost standards and are designed for a circular economy.

Clear BioCups: What is the shelf life?

Our bioplastic cups and lids have a 12 month shelf life from date of purchase. Bioplastics must be stored out of 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: 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.