Eco friendly catering & packaging supplies, Eco-lifestyle products & Natural Home-wares

Info: Catering & packaging products

  • 1.    What is the difference between biodegradable and compostable catering ware?

    We've written a few blog posts about this - check out our blog articles What is degradable, what is biodegradable and what is compostable?Degradable, biodegradable & compostable - what do they mean?, and So what does compostable mean?.If you have more questions or want more detail on anything - please ask us!

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  • 2.    I am planning my wedding and want a really gorgeous, natural look...what catering ware would suit us the best?

    Palm leaf plates and bowls are definitely our most popular plate for 'green' weddings and special events  such as 40th birthdays and wedding anniversaries.  They are individually handmade, unique and stylish. Wooden cutlery matches well with them, as do our gorgeous 100% post-consumer recycled fibre brown coloured napkins.  Another beautiful option that matches your palm leaf plates and wooden cutlery, is our 100% post-consumer recycled brown Ecocern cardboard, which can be cut for wedding invitations and thankyou cards, and sent with our matching brown envelopes.

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  • 3.    From what I have read that biodegrable cups just break down to small pieces, but actually never completely break down. Is this the case with your cups?

    There are several parts to your query.

    Biodegradable means that a product can be eaten by micro-organisms and degrade into biomass (plant matter). The term 'biodegradable' does not specify any time frame in which this will happen.

    'Degradable' is a term commonly mistaken / swapped for 'biodegradable'.......for example, there are manufacturers who have added heavy metals to oil based plastic bags and thus made them 'degradable', and they falsely market them as 'green'. Degradable means that something falls apart into smaller pieces (which is what you referred to above). We hate 'degradable' products for that reason, as they just fall apart into smaller pieces of plastic.

    The best qualification to look for in a product is whether it is 'certified commercially compostable (which our PLA cups are)'.

    If a product is 'certified commercially compostable', then it is biodegradable (eaten by micro-organisms) within the time frame of one commercial composting cycle. This means that within one composting cycle, it has become bio-mass - or dirt. These days, it is possible for food businesses to have their food scraps AND their certified commercially compostable catering wares collected and composted all together, and this is the absolute best case scenario in our eyes - the products are made from 100% renewable, plant materials, and are turned back into compost at the end of their use leaving no waste whatsoever.

    Here is the link to the page explaining what our PLA cups are made from: https://www.natureworksllc.com/

    Here is a link to the certificate 

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  • 4.    How do I choose what coffee cup size I need?

    4oz is Espresso size

    8oz is what 'used' to be standard coffee size....but is now often considered to be 'small'.

    12oz is now often considered regular or medium. Most cafe's would put a double shot of coffee into a 12oz cup.

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  • 5.    What's the difference between the two kinds of 750/1000 ml foodboxes?

    The 750/1000ml biocane lunchbox with T-lock was the original design of lunchbox. It is cheaper, and still very popular with some food traders who require a food box to serve as an open platter, usually just as the base with no lid.

    The new style 750/1000ml Biocane lunchbox  design is stronger, the lid fits better if you want a lid, and is better to stack (if you need to stack take-aways or have boxes ready to go). 

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  • 6.    Are Biocups really recyclable?

    Anyone keeping up with this issue will know it is a very complicated one.

    The number 1 best way to recycle your coffee cups is organically - eg, compost them!

    If this is not possible, there are many councils who state that they accept coffee cups in their paper recycling stream, however the reality is that as far as we can tell, they are considered to be a contaminant but at a low enough level that it is not considered an issue. So yes they are accepted but as a contaminant (each recycling stream can manage a specific level of contaminant without compromising it).

    There is lots and lots about Biocups that is way better than their plastic coated counterparts though:

    - A BioCup is produced from sustainably sourced paper – for every tree consumed another is planted!

    - It is coated with a plant-based waterproof material which has a carbon footprint up to 70% lower than regular plastic used to coat most other paper cups.

    - BioPak measure and completely offset all carbon emissions at each stage of the life cycle of their products from raw materials, production, distribution and disposal.

    AND - they are easier to recycle than your average takeaway paper cup, because the bioplastic lining dissolves during the re-pulping process. 

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  • 7.    Is there a lid available for the PLA cup 30ml?

    No, I'm afraid we don't have a lid that fits that size.

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  • 8.    Can I recycle your fibre products, eg sugarcane and Biocane plates, bowls, lunchboxes?

    Treat them like any waste paper or cardboard product (eg. a pizza box) - yes they can be recycled, as long as they don't have too much food waste on them.

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  • 9.    What are Sugarcane fibre / Bagasse / Biocane products made from?

    Bagasse is another name for sugarcane fibre, which is the fibre that is left after sugar has been squeezed out of sugarcane. It's usually just disposed of as having no further use...until people realised they could use the fibre in a similar way to wood pulp fibre. The big benefits of sugarcane fibre products are that they are an agricultural waste product, easily grown, and annually renewable. What's not to like about sugarcane fibre!?

    Biocane is often composed mainly of sugarcane pulp, but biocane is a word used to encompass any kind of plant pulp.  It could contain sugarcane, bamboo, and other agricultural wastes (after the edible part of the plant has been harvested).  We have a range of biocane items - from lunch boxes to plates, bowls and cups.

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  • 10.    What do they mean: Degradable, biodegradable and compostable?

    Degradable is a broad term given to natural and manmade substances that can be broken down by natural processes into smaller parts. Things can be photodegradable (broken down by ultraviolet light), oxidative (broken down by thermal exposure) or biodegradable (broken down by the action of microorganisms). The term ‘degradable’ in itself does not specify any time frame in which something will break down…for instance, a large tree trunk will biodegrade over the space of many years. A tin can is degradable too; it will break down over a long period of time through oxidation, and weathering. An EPI plastic bag (regular plastic that has been treated to make it degradable), will begin to degrade after about 12-18 months, and the time it takes will depend on how much light and stress (movement) it experiences.

    Biodegradable is a term given to material that, as a result the of biological activity of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi and algi), breaks down completely into the raw materials of nature (CO2 , H2O, inorganic compounds and biomass) from which it was made, and disappears into the environment.

    Compostable is a term given to biodegradable materials that biodegrade within in a certain time frame under typical composting conditions (which require heat and moisture; and are consistent with the composting conditions required for other known compostable materials like cellulose).

    So…when you are choosing what to buy, choose ‘compostable’ (which is therefore also biodegradable) wherever possible, or biodegradable (but not necessarily compostable) as a second choice. And remember that everything is degradable (will fall apart into smaller pieces) eventually, even if it takes a century – this term does not actually tell us much about how long the material will linger in our environment or the effect the resultant ‘smaller pieces’ might have.

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  • 11.    Are any of the catering wares made in Australia?

    Unfortunately - no.  We would always choose an Australian-made option above imported, but in the case of the biodegradable catering ware, we have no Australian-made options.  Australia does produce a lot of sugar - and hence sugarcane pulp wastes - but there is not enough market demand here yet to make it a viable industry for anyone to transform that into other products.  We hope that as demand for sugarcane pulp products grows, Australia might step into production.

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  • 12.    What type of palm are the palm leaf plates made from? Are they the ones that are causing so much destruction of habitat?

    No - they are a different type of palm tree, the Betel nut palm, or Areca palm tree.  They occur naturally all over India.  Villagers wait until the palm leaves fall, they collect them, soak them with water, press them into shape and trim the edges. This is why each palm leaf plate is unique!

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  • 13.    Is any of the disposable cutlery re-usable?

    The PSM cutlery can be washed by hand or by dishwasher and re-used. The wooden cutlery is definitely only single use.

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