With hard-to-recycle and single-use plastics, such as supermarket meat trays, set to be banned from October this year, an innovative New Zealand company has found a way to package meat using a fully compostable alternative.
New Zealand company EarthPac has successfully created potato starch packaging, using a by-product from potato chip production, to manufacture home compostable, food-grade packaging. Current products include single-use trays for use in hospitals, consumer-based home products and possum bait stations.
With single-use plastic supermarket meat and vegetable trays to be banned later this year, the company is raising investment to fund the production of the home compostable alternative.
“Our tray totally replaces the plastic products; they can be frozen, microwaved and composted at home easily, and are free from toxins, says EarthPac Limited’s Director Paul Dodd. Dodd says the technology involves a company patented UV cassette which has sterilized the potato starch, making it food grade, a hands-down better solution to plastic. Successful trials have finished and development is underway.
“The potatoes, on their journey from spud farm to French Fry, are blasted with water, washed, scrubbed, and at 120kph, pushed through a tube fitted with a series of knives. The wastewater from this is full of starch which is extracted and in doing so it returns clean water to be reused by the Potato processor, and then the dried Potato starch is used by us to make the trays and plates.
“There’s no chance of contaminating anything, including our waterways, and only a very small amount of waste product is produced by us. All of this waste is given to Ecostock who uses it for their manufacturing stock. It’s the perfect circular business,” says Dodd.