Encouraging Major Supermarkets To Ditch The Plastic
As soft plastic recycling takes a significant hit, Biotuff wants to encourage supermarket chains to consider abolishing plastic and move towards a more sustainable alternatives.
"Soft plastics can easily be replaced with much more environmentally friendly options such as soft compostable bioplastics that can be turned into golden soil," Nadia Steele from Biotuff says. "With the Food Organic Green Organic (FOGO) already in motion, there is no reason why this service could not be better invested to cope with compostable bioplastics collection. It makes sense for the future of our country, our children, and the consumer."
Australia faces a significant challenge in managing its plastic waste, especially soft plastics. Soft plastics, such as plastic bags, food wrappers, and other thin plastic films, are challenging to recycle, leading to increasing levels of plastic pollution in landfills, waterways, and oceans.
With the recent suspension of REDCycle and the pressure to allow soft plastics to end up in traditional recycling firms, which can be detrimental to their machinery, now is the time to take a stance and push for change. The program did prove one thing – Australians are passionate about recycling and ensuring they dispose of their waste correctly. However, further steps could allow for sustainable solutions.
"Compostable bioplastics are the way of the future, and now is the time for major supermarkets to embrace this option," Steele says. "Instead of looking for additional plastic options that cause major harm during manufacturing and recycling, Australians need a better solution to this continuing problem."
Soft plastics are a significant source of plastic waste in Australia. According to the Australian Packaging Covenant Organization, around 1.5 million tonnes of plastic are consumed in Australia annually, and only 9.4% of this plastic waste is recycled.
"Soft plastics, including plastic bags and other plastic films, make up a significant portion of this plastic waste," Steele says. "Soft plastics are not suitable for traditional recycling because they can jam the machinery, and they are too lightweight to be sorted by the machines, so it's time to make a change and ban this type of plastic while moving towards a sustainable alternatives for supermarkets and consumers – compostable soft bioplastics."
The environmental impact of soft plastics is significant. These plastics break down into microplastics, which harm marine life and cause ecological problems. Interestingly soft plastics also take a long time to break down in landfills and can contribute to the build-up of the potent greenhouse gas - methane.
"It's time to put pressure on the supermarket chains and the government to say no to these plastics being produced in the first place while promoting a much better solution," Steele says. "Encouraging the use of bioplastics made from renewable sources, that can be collected through FOGO, and transformed back into soil without any toxic residue is the way forward."
Compostable bioplastics are already used for various applications, including food packaging and bags. Coles Supermarkets are currently leading the way by offering consumers compostable produce bags in selected stores nationwide. Compostable bioplastics are made from renewable resources and are much less reliant on precious fossil fuels. They also break down into compost, which can be used to enrich the soil and support the growth of plants. In addition, unlike traditional plastics, compostable bioplastics do not break down into harmful microplastics.
"Supermarkets can play a significant role in adopting compostable bioplastics," Steele says. "Many supermarkets are already taking steps to reduce their use of traditional soft plastics, such as plastic bags. However, adopting compostable bioplastics could be a game-changer for the industry and make a clear message that Australian supermarkets care for our environment and our children's future."
Supermarkets could replace traditional soft plastics with compostable bioplastics, providing customers with an eco-friendly alternative.
"As consumers, we can also play our part by choosing compostable bioplastics where possible and reducing our use of traditional soft plastics," Steele says. "However, if our major supermarkets can take a stance and prevent additional strain on our environment, it would make a huge statement towards a greener future for all Australians."