FBIN, Featured, Food Manufacturing

Empowering communities through sustainable waste solutions

The Foodie, a centrepiece of COPAR’s composting endeavour, operates seamlessly with the company’s fibre-based packaging to create biomass opportunities. Food & Beverage Industry News reports. 

COPAR, in collaboration with key stakeholders, is implementing new composting solutions, which work in tandem with its packaging solutions, to divert food waste from land-fill. 

By integrating advanced composting technology with community-focused initiatives, COPAR is transforming food waste into valuable compost, which can then be used to grow fresh produce. This innovative approach not only reduces landfill waste and methane emissions but also closes the loop by turning waste into valuable resource. 

COPAR has already installed its Foodie in-house accelerated composting solution collaborating with industry partners as part of a pilot program, testing its real-world results which have already shown to be positive. 

The Foodie is specifically designed to compost food waste safely and efficiently, and in combination with COPAR’s sustainable packaging. This project also emphasises the importance of community engagement and education in fostering sustainable habits.

The Foodie is specifically designed to compost food waste safely and efficiently, and in combination with COPAR’s sustainable packaging. Image: COPAR

Hugh Perrottet, operations manager at COPAR, was optimistic about the progress being made on the company’s integration of the Foodie composting system and the community strategy around it. 

Perrottet said the Foodie has been installed at the Chester Hill RSL Club in south-western Sydney. 

“One of the main results we wanted to see was what difference it makes using the composting system instead of letting the food waste go into landfill,” he said. 

“At the moment, you can put 25kg of food waste into the unit (including compostable packaging), which basically works on a 24-hour cycle, and then you can utilise that waste in a couple of different ways.” 

Perrottet said that to realise those different secondary functions meant proper re-search and development, which included critical pilot programs, such as with the Foodie system. 

“You go into a project with one or two pieces of the strategy that you really want to achieve, but then you start really examining it a lot more,” he said. 

“You find out so many more options that you can either help the environment or commercialise outcomes from all these types of solutions.” 

Perrottet said COPAR’s new presence in the space provided several advantages when it comes to the adoption of new innovations and methods, mainly because they were more agile. 

“Which means we are always open to new ideas. We always go into it with the idea that there is always an opportunity for improvement or innovation,”
he added. 

“I’m sure there’s many more options to be found in terms of hospitality venues, clubs, even councils. Places that typically dispose of their food
in landfill.”

Perrottet said having a pilot program and testing results was one of the most impactful educational tools because it demonstrated a tangible outcome. 

“You start talking to them about why sending your food waste to landfill is not a good option, and how it adds to all the issues,” he said.  

“Getting past those things relatively quickly, for us was quite easy, but, taking out and educating everyone else is a little bit harder. 

“And that’s where things like community and government education comes in, in terms of how we work together on all these different projects to actually get a better outcome.”. 

Such as with the Foodie, in conjunction with COPAR’s fibre-based packaging, creating immediate benefits for its users 

“With this type of product, you can just throw it in there together and not even have to worry about it, because of our compostable packaging technology,” added Perrottet.

Meanwhile, Fathima Sameer, marketing specialist at COPAR, is in an ideal position to see how education is a key component in the push for these sorts of environ-mentally positive solutions. 

“What we’re trying to do is change the habits that people have been used to for so many years,” she said. 

“As part of this, we are doing things like trying to collaborate with local councils and asking them to adopt habits that will sustain for a longer period.

“And of course, for a wider focus our strategy will look to help reduce food waste, but also convert into compost that is more valuable.” 

Sameer reiterated some of the important results from use of the Foodie composting system. 

“What we’ve learned is our products, which are the fibre-based, compost in less than 24 hours, while the bio-plastic bags compost in 48 hours,” she said.

“And it not only gives rapid composting, but it also gives a nutrient rich compost.” 

This nutrient rich compost then has several uses, from fertilising to mulching, and more.

“We are trying to form a whole ‘Cradle to Cradle’ process where you start off with waste, in this case wheat straw, and then you create something valuable which is packaging, then that goes back into compost along with food waste,” added Sameer.  

“Instead of contributing to landfill it can be repurposed somewhere else.”

With the right practical solution, the next most important factor is the continued education 

“Recycling is not the only solution,” said Sameer.

“We want to have other avenues of waste solutions that can be adopted easily and that is why we are trying to put compositing at the forefront too. 

“It’s not an easy task but essentially, coming from a user’s perspective, we want to simplify the process and make it easier to learn and adapt.”

As part of this, COPAR has partnered with Sustainability for Kids to help extend the education around the positive impact of composting  and recycling. 

“That’s also part of what are we trying to achieve with councils, to have educational initiatives or these community programmes, and to build a loyalty program around to ensure that people not only change habits, but get to grips with this little habit,” said Sameer.

“We have also partnered with U by Utilitarian, which is a new platform currently being built for a circular approach. 

“Ideally it’s a single platform where you can learn new information, participate in campaigns, and also track your impact in terms of waste disposal.”

Perrottet said it was surprising how little was known about the opportunities that exists within Australia in terms of capitalising on this waste biomass.

He said seeing people realise the positive opportunities available to them was al-ways a great feeling. 

“It’s going to open so many avenues for products that we never even thought would exist,” he said. 

COPAR continues to emphasise simplicity and education in changing long-standing waste disposal habits.

The company continues to advocate for a holistic approach to packaging, waste management, and integrating composting alongside recycling as viable solutions. 

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