The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES KITTO

A DER­WENT Val­ley fruit grower’s pun­nets pack more than just a punch of juicy good­ness.

Wester­way Rasp­berry Farm is be­gin­ning a move away from plas­tic pack­ag­ing to a more eco-friendly al­ter­na­tive in a bid to be more en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious.

Af­ter first dis­cov­er­ing Biopak’s com­postable pack­ag­ing while buy­ing food from a restau­rant in Syd­ney, Wester­way Rasp­berry Farm grower Richard Clark said chang­ing the com­pany con­tain­ers to biodegrad­able sug­ar­cane pulp packs was a big step for­ward in im­prov­ing the farm’s en­vi­ron­men­tal re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“When I first bought food in this new card­board-like pack­ag­ing we’re rolling out, I thought no way will this work to hold the curry I was eat­ing at the time. Nor would it be a good stor­age means for our very juicy rasp­ber­ries,” Mr Clark said.

“But I wanted to test it out. Af­ter keep­ing curry in the con­tainer re­frig­er­ated overnight, I then emp­tied it and filled it with wa­ter and left it for five days. I was amazed at how well it held its shape and didn’t lose any liq­uid.

“We’re very pleased to repack­age our prod­ucts with such a re­li­able, yet en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly ma­te­rial.”

Mr Clark said the move to a com­postable al­ter­na­tive, which has seen the com­pany pack­age 30,000 rasp­berry pun­nets this year, aligned with the busi­ness’ per­cep­tion of con­sumer de­mand.

“I think Tas­ma­ni­ans like to know where their food comes from and con­sumers ed­u­cated around waste seem to be aware of the foot­print non-com­postable waste has,” he said.

Biopak CEO Gary Smith said more food pro­duc­ers were start­ing to move away from sin­gle use plas­tics.

“We’ve no­ticed there is quite a strong move­ment within the fruit and veg­etable in­dus­try that com­pa­nies are be­gin­ning to choose com­postable pack­ag­ing in favour of plas­tics,” he said.

“I think it’s well known how dam­ag­ing plas­tic is on the en­vi­ron­ment.

“It’s a dor­mant re­source with a huge amount of car­bon, and while sug­ar­cane pulp prod­ucts do also have a car­bon foot­print, it’s no where near as dam­ag­ing as plas­tic as it’s a rapidly re­new­able re­source.”

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