Environment

Alternative to plastic cucumber wrapping developed

Alternative to plastic cucumbe...
A compostable bioplastic wrapper for cucumbers has been developed by BioBag World Australia and IG Fresh
A compostable bioplastic wrapper for cucumbers has been developed by BioBag World Australia and IG Fresh
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A compostable bioplastic wrapper for cucumbers has been developed by BioBag World Australia and IG Fresh
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A compostable bioplastic wrapper for cucumbers has been developed by BioBag World Australia and IG Fresh

Plastic waste is a huge problem, and though there are efforts to clean up our throw-away mess, measures are also being taken to cut down our usage, particularly single-use plastic. BioBag World Australia and IG Fresh Produce have now come up with an alternative to polyethylene wrap that can be used to keep cucumbers fresh without damaging the environment.

Drakes Supermarkets in southern Australia approached IG Fresh last year and asked the Adelaide-based fruit and vegetable wholesaler to develop an alternative to plastic wrapping that could be composted. Working with BioBag, a bioplastic film was created from a compostable resin that makes use of plant materials including non-GM corn starch.

IG Fresh executive director George Antonas said that while other compostable products already exist, this new development needed to be shrink-wrapped onto a cucumber and therefore required a bit of a rethink.

The Lead South Australia reports that Antonas said: "You buy a cucumber, you peel off the wrapper and you put it in your greens bin and you know it’s not going to add to landfill and that sort of thing. Plastic has its place but not for single use, it just creates too much waste."

Antonas reckons that the new bioplastic wrap could be used to keep all supermarket fruit and vegetables fresh, not just cucumbers. Development continues, but BioBag's Scott Morton says that sales of the new wrap could go international. Until October 16 though, the compostable cucumber wrapping is being used exclusively at 38 Drake supermarkets in southern Australia before being made available for "a wide range of purposes."

Sources: BioBag World Australia, Drakes via The Lead South Australia

7 comments
Spud Murphy
It's South Australia (which is a state), not southern Australia. Drakes only has sores in South Australia and Queensland (another state) which is up north. Apart from that, why do cucumbers need to be wrapped? It's just some stupid fad that was started a few years back by one of the supply chains as a a bit of BS (probably recommended to them by their packaging supplier who just wanted to sell more plastic crap) and all the idiots followed, there is no need for it, as anyone who buys unwrapped produce already knows. No presh fruit and veg needs to be wrapped, and this sort of packaging should simply be banned.
eMacPaul
Why does the cucumber need to be wrapped? It already has a peel. Do they wrap bananas and apples in Australia, too?
Rory Short
What an excellent idea I can't wait until it comes into use here in South Africa.
buzzclick
The plastic wrap increases the shelf life and simplifies the handling of cukes considerably. When making a salad I just cut off the amount I want to use and leave the rest of the veggie wrapped. The amount of plastic used is minimal girls, so don't get your knickers in a twist. This is part of the facetious green marketing movement that everyone has jumped on, that ignores the real overuse of plastic.
neoneuron
In the refrigerator, I have found out that vegetables and fruit need to be surrounded by air to keep from molding up, and stay moist. Some need a lot. Apples and cucumbers. Some need a bit, bananas, garlic,
Aross
We survived without plastics for thousands of years. Although useful in some cases the expanding overuse in packaging and food wrapping is nuts. I think we need to take a large step backwards to move forward. Also need to put a stop to laying the blame and recycling responsibility on the consumer and place it where it belongs, big business. In my 70 plus years I have seen very few innovations that truly benefited the consumer. Most were only beneficial to businesses bottom line.
Saigvre
Paul, you need to skiff on to AU (spring!) and compost the leavings from your salad and tell us how long it took for them to compost! Otherwise there's not so much to the saying, could be a year plus to compost; makes the gardeners' gold look a bit gronky. Lovely cukes news.