Factors to consider when sourcing sustainable packaging for your venue
As growing numbers of Australians are becoming aware of their carbon footprint, so too should food service venues. While convenience continues to be king when ordering takeaway foods and beverages, more Australian consumers are looking to their favourite cafes and restaurants to provide their delicious menu items in environmentally-friendly packaging.
Not too many years ago, single-use plastic was the go-to packaging solution for the hospitality industry - particularly given its cost effectiveness - however we've quickly changed our opinion of this material given the impact it has on the environment. With recycling difficulties due to contamination and the fact that "6.3 billion tonnes of plastic has become waste (since 1950s)," many Australian states have begun banning single-use plastic bags and packaging. Check out how different states stack up across the country.
Whilst the most environmentally-friendly option would to completely eliminate single-use packaging, it would be unrealistic for venues to expect everyone to bring reusable coffee cups and take away containers - so we must look for a more sustainable way to allow for takeaway foods and beverages.
Many of Foodbomb's packaging wholesalers across Sydney and Melbourne are working hard to find solutions that remain cost effective for both our pockets and the environment! From compostable wooden and bamboo serving-ware to sugar cane or corn alternatives, there is no reason to depend on plastic or polystyrene packaging for your venue.
Once you start exploring different sustainable packaging, you can find yourself going down a bit of a rabbit-hole, with so much information available. Here are some quick and easy nuggets to keep in mind when looking for sustainably-sourced packaging:
- You can achieve sustainability with your packaging in a number of ways:
- Ingredients: Using raw 100% recycled or raw materials
- Production process: By minimising the carbon footprint of the production process and supply chain
- Reusability: Creating a circular economy around the packaging, extending its lifecycle and usability.
- Not all compostable packaging is the same - some materials can be composted at home (and are easier to breakdown), whilst others may require an industrial composting facility to work it's magic. So for example while bio-plastics (such as PLA or Bio-PE) may be advertised as 'compostable' they require specialised conditions in order to biodegrade efficiently. Generally speaking packaging made from uncoated wood, paper, sugarcane, bamboo or cardboard are easier to compost.
- There isn't a universal standard for compostable packaging - many companies have different standards and it can be difficult to work out what grade of compostability a type of packaging might have.
- Finding a sustainable packaging solution is also about sourcing more mono-materials and decreasing the complexity of the combinations of different materials used. For example, large amounts of packaging produced today cannot be recycled in existing recycling systems. This is especially true for multi-material packaging (like waxed cardboard boxes), which today pose a significant and unresolved challenge in recycling.
- Consider the overall sustainability of a packaging solution - it’s simple to say that eco packaging is entirely about the environment. It also should take into consideration economic and social factors. For example, plant-based packaging may seem like a viable option. But quite often that means clearing endangered rainforests to grow crops.
- Do your own research - we won't be able to give the best sustainable solution for your packaging as it will depend on what type of food or drink you serve, however there are a number of different resources that can help you on your quest to save the environment, including the Sustainable Packaging Coalition.
- Browse the wide range of products that Foodbomb's Packaging Suppliers in Sydney and Packaging Suppliers Melbourne stock:
- PAC Trading - Whether you're after biodegradable coffee lids, bamboo bowls or and uncoated kraft burger boxes made out of a heavy duty corrugated cardboard, PAC Trading have a wide range of environmentally-friendly and compostable packaging solutions.
- WholesalePak - Stocking a wide range of BioPak products, WholesalePak have you sorted for napkins, coffee cups, cutlery and everything in between!
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