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Biodegradable: Not the be-all and end-all

You might be walking through the supermarket and see the words ‘biodegradable’, ‘degradable’, or ‘compostable’ on a faux-plastic item. It might be rubbish bags or cling wrap. That’s good, right? These materials are good for the earth! Not necessarily. Here, we explain the difference between compostable, biodegradable, and degradable, and why the names can be misleading. Compostable Compostable plastic is capable of biological decomposition in a compost site. Most international standards require the material to biodegrade 60% in 180 days, ...
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Revisiting eco-materials

So many different plant-based products are floating around the market. But how do you know what you’re actually using, and why you should use one over the other? Here we provide brief profiles for several common materials, so you can understand what you’re buying. Sugarcane bagasse/pulp Sugarcane bagasse is the dry fibrous residue left over once sugarcane stalks are crushed and the juice extracted for sugar manufacturing. Because the fibres are already crushed, we need less energy to make products ...
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How to take on plastic free at the supermarket

Many of us look around at the supermarket and know that we want to try reducing plastic – but it seems almost impossible to start. So much of the supermarket stock is wrapped with plastic. A woman in NSW gave it a go. Helen Hughes in the NSW Hunter’s Valley has been trying to reduce her plastic use for a year now. She buys her meat from the butcher in a reusable container, her bread from the bakery in a ...
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Our chance to save the oceans from plastic

Two new studies found that the world is on track to triple the amount of plastic we send into our oceans in only two decades. But if civic and business leaders get on top of the crisis, we could reduce that rate by 80%. The results The world produces hundreds of millions of tons of plastic every year, and 40% of it ends up polluting the ocean or land. In 2016, 11 million metric tons of plastic ended up in ...
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Looking back on Plastic Free July

It’s the end of July, and maybe you’ve reduced your plastic consumption. Maybe you’ve learnt a few new strategies, or learnt that you can do without certain items. Maybe you’re glad it’s the end of July – maybe you’re not. However you’re feeling right now, it’s time to think about the next steps in your plastic-free journey. For individuals Did you give up plastic completely for a month? Did you simply reduce it a little? Whatever difference you made to ...
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Single-use plastics ban in Queensland

The Queensland Government has proposed certain single-use plastic products to be banned from sale or supply, with a start date after July 1, 2021. This is an exciting step towards eliminating single-use plastics, and makes Queensland a leader of the country. What would be banned? The government consulted the public and stakeholders, and proposed the following products to be banned: Straws Cutlery Plates Stirrers Straws and cutlery that form part of a product, such as the straw attached to a ...
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3 ways to reduce coffee cups to landfill

More and more people are using keep cups, but about 1 billion disposable coffee cups are still sent to landfill annually in Australia. Recently, reducing this number has been even more difficult, as many cafes refused reusable cups at the height of the pandemic. However, as we come out the other side of COVID-19 (we hope), here are three things customers, cafes, and policymakers can do to reduce the amount of waste we use. Customers: show off your reusable cup ...
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Plastic: From birth to bans

Plastic was, at first, invented to stop the slaughter of elephants. Elephant tusks were in high demand for ivory-based billiard balls – and to stop poaching of elephants, a new material was needed. But it has gone from a marvel to a menace, in a way few could have foreseen. The birth of plastic The first successful plastic, celluloid, was made in 1869. However, it wasn’t until the end of World War II that plastic became widespread and ubiquitous – ...
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Why we love PLA bioplastics

Have you heard of PLA? If you’re working outside of the packaging industry, the different types of plastics are probably not what you’re discussing over breakfast or even around the boardroom table. So why should you care? Here are some alarming stats you may or may not know: By 2050, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Conventional plastics are made from FINITE fossil fuel resources, which means they will run out one day. Only 9% of ...
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What it means to be a B Corp

‘Business as usual’ is not an option anymore. Recent local and global environmental destruction has made that clear. We need to create a new business model for our economy. The B Corp movement has pioneered a new way of doing business, which requires increased stewardship and balances profit with purpose. BioPak believes in using business as a force for good – which is why they are a B Corp. What are certified B Corporations? Certified B Corporations, or B Corps, ...
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