Mr Smith said that BioPak’s disposable coffee cups – also known as BioCups - were coated with a bioplastic (PLA), which was derived from plant starch.
“The difficulty is not, as the recycling industry claims, separating the lining from the paper fibers of BioCups, which are recyclable as well as compostable,” he said.
“The problem is that some recyclers do not want to change their processes to be able to sort and recycle coffee cups, even though BioPak has offered to assist with any investment needed.
“There are some excellent examples of local councils doing the right thing on this front, such as Byron Bay Shire, Brisbane City, all of the ACT, Perth City and Shellharbour. Sadly, many others find it easier to just send the cups to landfill.”
Mr Smith said the research, undertaken by independent consultants PackEng, had compared in laboratory conditions the recyclability and “pulpability” of paper cups coated with PLA bioplastic, cups coated with Polyethylene (PE) plastic, as well as milk and juice cartons.
The testing found that at standard low temperature pulping, the recovered fibre, or fibre yield, of PLA coated BioCups achieved 72.4 per cent, compared to 32 per cent for PE coated paper cups, which account for 80 per cent of single use cups used in the Australian market. By comparison, the recovery rate for milk cartons was just 1.7 per cent.
He said BioPak was committed to reducing the proportion of all single use disposable food packaging that ends up in landfill, not just coffee cups.
“The foodservice sector needs to replace plastic options with more sustainable packaging designed for the circular economy, utilising environmentally friendly, rapidly renewable materials, such paper sourced from managed plantations, sugarcane pulp and bioplastics,” he said.
“Then it becomes a simple process without the need for waste separation, to simply place leftover food scraps together with compostable packaging into a green waste bin which is sent to a compost facility and turned into compost, which is used to improve soil health, and enhance plant growth.”
Media inquiries: Lauren Stutchbury (Cannings Strategic Communications) +61 423 941 656