Switching to Bagasse Packaging

Styrofoam and plastic food packaging is ubiquitous in fast-food outlets, restaurants, and the canteens of large office buildings. But hundreds of thousands of tons of polystyrene end up in the world’s landfills every year, and will stay there for over 500 years.

The major driver of the dominance of polystyrene is its cost compared to other, more traditional forms of packaging that are semi-biodegradable (paper and cardboard, for example). This was the paradigm during the 1980s and 90s, and when newer materials made from completely biodegradable organic by-products came onto the scene, they represented the much more costly “green” alternative.

Introducing Bagasse Packaging

With significant worldwide investment in renewable biotechnology, the cost of several biodegradable packaging materials has come down to be in line with the conventional Styrofoam and plastics used in the food industry and restaurants. One of the frontrunners is Bagasse packaging.

Bagasse packaging is made from the pulp of the sugar cane plant, and is extremely durable, lightweight, inexpensive, and bio-degrades in 30-90 days once exposed to composting conditions. It can be heated up or frozen, and it has no taste, odour or harmful additives. This makes it an ideal alternative to traditional hinged polystyrene meal containers, plates, cutlery and cups.

Can You Switch to Bagasse Packaging?

If your needs are as simple as a few hundred containers a week for your office canteen, then all you need to do is contact us to arrange to take over your regular supply.  If your business is food distribution, or you run the canteen of a large multi-story office complex, then it is well worth it to investigate potential cost-savings and public relations value, aside from the obvious environmental benefit.

The major advantage of bagasse packaging is its affordability and durability.  Your entire suite of plates, take-away packaging, cutlery and disposable cups can be made from bagasse, all of which will begin decomposing as soon as it arrives in a compost heap or landfill.

Measuring the Public Relations Value

If your company has committed to sustainability, then switching to bagasse packaging will go a long way in reducing your company’s environmental impact. Marin County in California recently switched to all-biodegradable packaging in their civic centre’s food hall, without an increase in cost.  The County Supervisor Charles McGlashan, who pushed for the change, says, “It is all about walking your talk. If you are the kind of organization that has sustainability values and you want to walk your talk, you can’t have a café filled with plastic.”

The impact of your change can easily be measured in terms of the decrease in use of non-biodegradable containers and utensils.

Measuring the Cost Impact of Bagasse Packaging

The cost of bagasse packaging is very low, and it decreases with the size of your orders.  As more investment is made in this field and production increases to deal with swelling demand, the price per item is likely to drop over the next decade.

This, added to the brand value gained from improving your company’s commitment to sustainability, should also be factored into the cost impact of bagasse packaging.

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