Sustainable packaging is a hot topic currently, and for very good reason. It’s more important than ever to switch from traditional plastics and wasteful packaging to biodegradable and reusable materials, and the Australian Packaging Covenant (which is working in tandem with government and industry) has recognised this; the four targets which create Australia’s pathway to a better future are:
- 100% of packaging being reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025
- 70% of plastic packaging being recycled or composted by 2025
- 50% of average recycled content included in packaging by 2025
- Phasing out all problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging by 2025.
What these targets mean is that we, along with all other Australian companies who haven’t yet found an alternative to traditional packaging, have until 2025 to formulate our plans to switch all the plastic elements of our packaging and shippers to their eco-friendly counterparts.
Our Eco-friendly Pathway
You may have noticed that our 500g Aussie Oats come in a different package to our Traditional, Organic and Quick lines. As the newest addition to our product range, we have sourced a new supplier for the Aussie Oats packaging – they’re locally made, recyclable, and have a different texture due to their unique manufacturing process which forms the package wall from two layers of plastic instead of one. As the Aussie Oat packaging has been a success, we will be moving all our products into a similar form before the deadline of 2025.
We are also going to be moving towards sustainable post satchels – ideally, we will find a supplier of biodegradable satchels which you can simply pop in your bins or compost without any guilt. Companies across Australia are already switching their packaging – for example, General Mills Australia (who host companies such as Old El Paso, Latina Fresh Pasta, Betty Crocker, Nature Valley and Fibre One) are now sustainably sourcing 100% of their packaging from two separate sustainable lanes – one being virgin wood forests that is carefully managed to prevent harmful deforestation, and the other being the sourcing of all necessary plastics from 100% recycled materials. The more companies that are able to switch over to such methods, the greener our planet can become.
The REDcycle Program
You may have seen packaging with the REDcycle logo printed on it, and if you’re not sure what that means, it’s very simple. The REDcycle initiative is a Melbourne based program introduced to recover and recycle soft plastics to keep them out of landfills. By collecting any plastic marked with the REDcycle symbol and leaving it at the designated drop off zones, consumers can prevent those soft plastics from entering the landfills at all. It’s our goal to have our packaging join the ranks of brands who have already made the switch.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t yet exist fully compostable or biodegradable packaging suitable for consumable products with a shelf life of longer than 12 months, which encompasses most of our oat products, which means that we can only move towards full biodegradable packaging for our mailers and our products with a shorter shelf life. For our longer-lived products, we will still be using soft plastics, but these packaging options will all be fully REDcycleable until biodegradable packaging technology improves its longevity for products with longer shelf lives.
Reducing and Eliminating Surplus Packaging
Lastly, it is our goal to study all our current packaging to identify and remove plastics and non-recyclable or eco-friendly materials from our packaging and shipping options. This will include things like finding natural alternatives to bubble wrap and packing peanuts, and reducing unnecessary paper from our orders. We are also exploring a plan to recycle our own boxes ourselves, by shredding old boxes into eco-friendly packing material, which will go a long way toward eliminating plastics in our packing facilities.
All of these steps will take time to identify, find viable solutions to, and finally to implement, but it’s an important journey and one that we’re very excited to be on.