NuGrow is recycling a growing volume of compostable plastics from waste generators such as Merlo, Riverstage and Eat Street Markets as more companies are turning to sustainable food packaging solutions.

Over the last 12 months, single use plastics have become a priority issue in society and the demand for alternatives is being increasingly matched by the improved availability of quality compostable plastics from suppliers such asBiopak and Vegware.

NuGrow’s Chief Strategy Officer, Peter Thompson, said more brands are expected to announce stronger waste reduction targets as urgency around environmental action grows and practical solutions continue to become available.

“Major brands like Qantas and McDonalds recently announced ambitious waste reduction goals and we expect that trend to continue as brands place greater value on sustainability,” Peter said.

“In the last six months alone, we’ve also seen a greater shift toward the use of environmentally smart solutions like compostable plastics,” he said.

“Although progress is slower than we’d like, the shift is set to ramp up over the next few years as companies balance the costs and benefits of compostable plastics, including in light of the introduction of Queensland’s waste levy.”

Queensland research suggests that as much as 40 per cent of residential waste bins is compostable and could be diverted from landfill, with Biopak citing up to 60 per cent potential for waste diversion.

Plastic alternatives such as compostable packaging remove waste from landfills that are at breaking point. These materials also completely break down, which means they can contribute to the creation of compost, which is then used to rejuvenate Australia’s soils.

“Years ago, people started talking about biodegradable plastics but they are vastly different to certified compostable products,” Peter said.

“Traditional biodegradable plastic can take more than 500 years to degrade for something like cling wrap, 450 years for a plastic water bottle, 50 years for a plastic cup, and even 10 years for a plastic bag. With compostable plastics, we’re looking at just 12 weeks,” he said.

“From an environmental and social perspective, that difference is massive and it comes with economic benefits like reducing landfill costs and creating beneficial products like compost.”

With NuGrow being Queensland’s largest compost manufacturer by volume and geography, the team welcomes the change that’s not only in the air but also in our compost as they gear up for continued growth in compostables.