Alba Cheese achieves environmental benefits using BioGone stretch wrap

Monday, 04 May, 2020

Alba Cheese, a local manufacturer of high-quality, authentic Italian cheese, is using stretch wrap from BioGone. The product is part of the BioGone plastic wrapping and packaging products range designed to biodegrade away when sent to a landfill.

After sampling some of the BioGone products, Alba found they were good quality. Once they understood the large environmental benefit of being biodegradable in landfills, they were even more enthusiastic to switch to the stretch wrap. It gave them the confidence that they were looking after the environment as well as their operations.

Alba Cheese has a commitment to be as sustainable as they can be in their operations. As the company grows, they are becoming more aware of what more they can do, and products like BioGone’s fit their goals nicely. When asked what Alba thought of BioGone’s products they replied: “Excellent product. Not that it is just environmentally friendly but an excellent product compared to others we have tried in the past.”

Alba Cheese uses the BioGone product not only for their own peace of mind but they also want their customers to know too they are going above and beyond to help the environment. Many companies are trying to be sustainable these days and Alba is a good example of how BioGone allows a company to achieve some of these goals.

How does the product work?

BioGone is an Australian company founded after the owners realised that its normal operating practices of using plastic were doing a lot of harm to the environment. Many products such as stretch wrap are only used for a 1-way trip of a few hours then more than likely discarded to a landfill to sit there for several 100s of years. This happens 1000s of times a day across Australia.

Australia uses about 1.5 million tons of plastic a year and only a small percent is recycled. Another way to look at it, we are using plastic products for a very short time but are leaving future generations to have to deal with it. The owners could not accept that, so started developing a range of common, single-use plastic products that are used by various business types. Once discarded to a landfill, the natural microbes could digest the plastic away as food.

The method used to do this is to add in a proprietary organic additive to the plastic raw material. The additive has no change on the plastic properties except for when it is disposed to a microbe-rich environment such as a landfill. There the microbes see the food and start to digest it away and, in the process, break the polymer down so they can digest that too. The only by-products are a biogas evolved and a biomass (humus) or plant fertiliser remaining. It is not a degradable action that results in small plastic bits remaining, but a full biodegradable process.

What is the biodegradation time frame? This is a question a lot of people ask and the easier way to answer it is to consider the biodegradation time factor can be thought of as 20 times faster than a conventional plastic of the same size. While this is not as fast as say an apple core biodegrading away, it is still quite fast relative to a conventional plastic. Plus, it means we are dealing with our plastic waste in our lifetime, not leaving it for future generations to deal with.

For a number of its products, BioGone is claimed to be the only manufacturer in the world. Products such as landfill-biodegradable packing tape, stretch wrap, packing list, enclosed type stick on envelopes, strapping and more are only produced by BioGone.

BioGone fully recognises that this is not a panacea to the whole plastic problem. Their plastic has no benefits in the ocean or waterways, for example, as there are few microbes there to digest the plastic away. However, since most of our plastic waste does go to landfill, then this is a very good place to start. That is why they stress their materials are landfill-biodegradable as it tells the user where they have to dispose of the product in order for it to biodegrade.

Another benefit of BioGone’s plastic products is that they are mainstream recyclable too. Even encouraged. The additive stays inert in the plastic while it is reprocessed. It doesn’t require any different processing equipment and the final product will not be any different. Due to the additive being diluted down, however, it is unlikely a new product from the recycled material would be landfill-biodegradable.

BioGone also supplies some products made from home-compostable plastics. These are plant-based materials, not fossil-fuel based materials, which many buyers are starting to seek out. It has advantages of being quite fast to biodegrade in landfills or consumers’ home compost bins. Its disadvantages are that it is slightly more costly and is not recyclable. In many cases, however, this is a good sustainable option.

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