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New Regulations: How the Fresh Produce Industry Can Embrace Sustainable Packaging Practices

New Regulations: How the Fresh Produce Industry Can Embrace Sustainable Packaging Practices

The Australian government has recently announced that they will soon be enacting strict new rules that will force the industry to design food packaging that will reduce waste and to address the use of harmful chemicals.  In announcing these changes, the Minister for the Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek said that the current voluntary targets and design guidelines aren't working as three million tonnes of packaging is sent to landfill every year. In particular, plastic waste has reached a critical tipping point receiving special mention due to is detrimental impacts on the oceans and wildlife.

Recognising the Impact of Packaging Waste:

The fresh produce industry plays a crucial role in providing nutritious food to consumers while ensuring minimal impact on the environment. However, the industry faces challenges associated with conventional packaging methods, particularly those that contribute to plastic waste.

The recent update to government regulation highlights the urgency of addressing packaging waste and underscores the importance of industry-wide action. Specifically, the government said that they will soon be enforcing new mandatory packaging design standards to ensure that:

  • Packaging waste is minimised at the packaging design phase.
  • All packaging to be designed to be recovered, reused, recycled or repurposed.
  • Restrictions to the use of harmful chemicals in food packaging that can include PFAS chemicals that do not break down and accumulate in our food chain and our bodies.

Embracing Sustainable Packaging Practices:

It is important to acknowledge that while government regulations have already banned single-use plastic bags, subsequent solutions have often relied on reusable plastic bags or other bags that still contain plastic. Unfortunately, these alternatives can still contribute to harmful waste, including the proliferation of microplastics in our ecosystems.

To comply with the new regulations and contribute to a sustainable future, the fresh produce industry can implement the following strategies:

Material Innovation: Explore alternative packaging materials that are reusable, biodegradable, compostable, or made from renewable resources. For example, consider COPAR's innovative and PFAS-Free Wheat Straw Packaging, derived from agricultural waste, as a sustainable and compostable alternative that reduces plastic waste while ensuring product quality and freshness.

Minimalist Packaging Design: Rethink packaging designs to minimise the use of materials and optimise resource efficiency. Streamlining packaging sizes and employing innovative design techniques can reduce waste while maintaining product safety and quality.

Collaboration and Supplier Partnerships: Engage with packaging suppliers who share a commitment to sustainability. Foster collaborative relationships to drive innovation in packaging design and ensure access to environmentally friendly packaging solutions.

Consumer Education and Engagement: Educate consumers about the importance of sustainable packaging and provide guidance on proper disposal or recycling. Encourage consumers to embrace reusable alternatives, such as COPAR's Eco Mesh bags, which replace plastic bags and contribute to reducing plastic waste in the fresh produce industry. Did you know that COPAR has an in-house composting educational campaign that your business could be a part of? Contact us to learn more about Compost Ben!

COPAR's Commitment to Sustainability:

At COPAR, we believe in creating a world where packaging never becomes waste or pollution. Our Wheat Straw Packaging, derived from agricultural waste, provides a compostable alternative that reduces plastic waste and contributes to a circular economy. Our R&D team are in final stages of testing our mushroom and berries solution to prevent microorganisms and extend shelf life.

Additionally, our Eco Mesh Bags offer a plastic-free, reusable solution that reduces the need for recycled or virgin plastic bags, protecting the environment and ensuring the freshness of your produce.

It is crucial for the industry to proactively adapt and seek innovative solutions that minimise packaging waste and promote a circular economy.

Take Action Today:

Ready to embrace sustainable packaging practices in the fresh produce industry? Choose COPAR's wheat straw packaging and eco mesh bags for your business today. Join us in reducing plastic waste, protecting the environment, and creating a more sustainable future. Visit our website to explore our range of sustainable packaging solutions or contact us today!

Comply with the new regulations, meet consumer expectations, and contribute to a thriving future.