A variety of fresh food products are sold wrapped in polyethylene plastic wrap, which is good for helping keep the food fresh, but ultimately bad for the environment. In an effort to cut down on plastic waste, a newly developed product from BioBag Australia uses non-GMO corn starch and other plant-sourced substances to keep vegetables fresh without problematic plastics. The environmentally-friendly product is already being used in Australia.
The product was developed by IG Fresh Produce and BioBag World Australia, the latter of which manufacturers the offering. Unlike polyethylene shrink-wrap traditionally used on fresh food products, BioBag’s film is compostable, meaning it degrades quickly in the environment similar to the way the food it protects will break down.
The product was developed specifically as an alternative to shrink-wrap for produce, according to Australia’s The LEAD. The product officially launched last month at Drakes Supermarkets located in Southern Austaralia where it is being used with cucumbers at this time. After October 16, the biofilm will be available for other uses, as well.
Rather than using polyethylene, BioBag’s offering is a bioplastic film that features Mater-Bi, a compostable resin made from corn starch and other plant-sourced compounds. Unlike competing compostable plastic alternatives, this biofilm can be heat shrunk, which makes it uniquely suited for use with fruits and vegetables.
Such compostable materials are a vital step in reducing the waste that results from so-called single-use plastics, which are plastic packaging bits that are used once on something like an individually wrapped food item. These plastics spend only a brief amount of time protecting the food, after which point they spend years slowly degrading in the environment.