How to cut the waste out of sampling!

Providing samples is an incredibly effective way to get your brand noticed. Item sales can increase up to 74% over a 20-week period according to a study from R.I.S.E. (Report on In-store Sampling Effectiveness).

Sounds like a no-brainer…but what about all that waste?
As your compostable foodware expert, we are proud to offer the perfect solution. BSIbio is now stocked with EcoTasters! These certified compostable tasting spoons offer an aesthetically pleasing look and feel, which allow your customers to enjoy the texture and flavour of your tasty samples.

EcoTensil Sampler

EcoTensil Sampler

EcoTensil shares BSIBio’s dedication to provide high quality foodware with sustainable end-of-life solutions. For organic, sustainable food samples, compostables are the best choice that reflect the values of the brand.

“As a natural food product demonstrator I consider EcoTensils an absolute blessing. I love that they are compostable, compact, strong and so darn cute. Samplers are always impressed with the simple act of pressing the two green dots together and you’ve got a spoon!”

- Christina Young, demo operator with Indigo Natural Product Management

We have two fully compostable EcoTensil Sample Spoons for you.

EcoTaster Mini Tasting Spoons for Mini Samples
EcoTaster Mid for Bigger Bites and Plating

EcoTasters are provided in a space efficient cube – get the starter kit with a bamboo display box to kick off your new sample spoons!

To order your EcoTasters or to try some samples please call 604-630-5115 or email sales@bsibio.com

 

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What Can Compostables Do? Workshop @ COOL2016 Expo April 18

What Can Compostables Do?

Want to green your upcoming event or operations with compostables? Learn how at the COOL2016 Expo: Cool Events for a Cool Planet, hosted by the City of Richmond Sustainable Event initiative and taking place on April 18.

To kick off the event, our BSIbio team is hosting a 1.5 hour workshop on “What Can Compostables Do?” to share the ins and outs of compostable food ware for purchasers, event organizers, sustainability managers, and you!

Space is limited, so save your seat now!

What Can Compostables Do? Sustainable food service ware workshop

Register on the COOL2016 Website and let your network know you’re going!

 

 COOL2016 Expo: Cool Events for a Cool Planet

COOL2016: Cool Events for a Cool Planet on April 18 5-9:30pm

Stay around after the workshop for the COOL2016 Expo: Cool Events for a Cool Planet

Want to green your upcoming event? Learn how at the COOL2016 Expo: Cool Events for a Cool Planet, hosted by the City of Richmond Sustainable Event initiative and taking place on April 18.

What: A sustainable event designed to teach you about running sustainable events!

When: Monday, April 18, 2016, 5 – 9:30pm

Where: Richmond Olympic Oval, 6111 River Road, Richmond, BC, V7C 0A2

Why: Events, conferences, large gatherings create some of the best experiences in building community, sharing knowledge and new ideas. We have a major opportunity to make our events more sustainable and produce less waste, and Richmond Sustainable Event initiative has made a lot of headway in sustainable event provision.

Now’s the time to share the news! Sustainable events are here to stay. Looking for quick tips? See what COOL2016 is doing to be sustainable.

This one day event solutions expo features world renowned thought leaders – who will share their real world experience and secrets on running successful, sustainable events – alongside over a dozen sustainable event solution providers, from water and bike stations to sustainable pyrotechnics and craft breweries.” – COOL2016 Website

This event features expert speakers on the topic of sustainable events, and an array of exhibitors and performance artists to make the Expo a cool time. Keep watch for our three costumed Compostable Food Service team.

Expert Speakers at COOL2016 Sustainable Events

Expert speakers at COOL2016 Expo: Cool Events for a Cool Planet on April 18 from 5-9:30pm

We look forward to seeing you there!

 

Looking to read more on creating sustainable events? Check out our“How to Organize Sustainable Events” blog post here.

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How to Organize Sustainable Events

Keeping up with sustainable trends can be tough – knowing the right course of action to reduce your impact is not always easy.  If you are planning an event, reducing your impact on the environment is not only recommended, it’s expected.   There are many considerations when planning a sustainable event, but the biggest impact you will need to consider is the waste generated from food and beverage service.

sustainable event

Science World's Science of Cocktails fundraiser used compostable, custom printed cups to keep waste out of landfills. A sustainable event doesn't have to compromise on luxury. Photo by Michelle Hondl Photography

 

Here are 3 questions to guide your “zero waste” planning.  Incorporating sustainability into your event plan early on will allow you to focus engaging your guests rather than the garbage.

What story do your branded materials tell?

Everything you provide your guests is an opportunity to support your brand.  Building sustainability into your giveaways doesn’t have to be hard, just take the time to consider what those materials are, how they provide value to you and your guests and consider their end of life solution – a key concept in the circular economy.  

From the beer cups to the swag, you have a chance to tell your guests you care about the environment.  Don’t know about sustainable swag?  Ask our friends at Fairware.

Who are your partners and how do they support your sustainability goals?

Working towards sustainability means talking across departments and engaging in  collaborative partnerships to achieve your waste diversion goals.  You will end up in conversations with all kinds of people and organizations. A great example of collaboration is the Vancity “Zero Waste” approach – they have engaged community partnerships from source to end-of-life:

These community partnerships are all specialists in what they do and are happy to answer questions and work with you on your sustainable events planning. 

The Vancouver Folk Fest were one of the first festivals to achieve their waste reduction targets.  They have done this through partnerships, and volunteer and guest engagement. 

Folk Fest – Sustainability from Black Rhino Creative on Vimeo.

What have you learned and how are you improving?

Sustainability is a way of thinking, not just a way of operating and your journey learning about creating a sustainable event connects you to community and solutions that will elevate your brand.

You don’t need to be a sustainability expert to run a sustainable event, but you should have a good grasp on terminology and know when you need to engage the services of an expert.  Check out our blog on “biodegradable” vs. “compostable” as an example of correct “zero waste” terminology.  

Measuring how the event went is key.  You may not get to 100% waste diversion in your first year, but you will need to know where you’re at and where the gaps were to improve.  Eurofest will be aiming for “zero waste” for the third year in a row!  What are the takeaways for the next event?  Do your guests, vendors and waste haulers have feedback for you?  Your partnerships provide valuable insight that could be the key to unlocking your sustainable future.

Sustainable event

Volunteers at EuroFest help guest sort their waste. Eurofest achieved 95% diversion last year!

Connect with us to find out more about how to hold sustainable events!

Call 604-630-5115 or Email: buybetter@bsibio.com 

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3 Lessons in Sustainable Packaging

2015 was a big year for the “hot topic” of sustainability – did anything really change?

You may have noticed more conversations surrounding reducing our impact on the environment, climate change, composting, sustainable brands and all the rest – but  did anything really change?

Top 3 lessons learned in 2015 – a year in review at BISbio

Lesson #1: Stand by the science

Policy adaptations designed to support sustainable development and operations should be supported by scientific evidence. This is not news, however BSIbio as a company has taken initiative to re-emphasize the science behind certified compostable products through our research projects. Here by standing by our founding principle that certified compostable products can significantly help reduce and divert waste.

Sustainable Packaging

Susanna Carson, CEO presents at the National Zero Waste Conference in Vancouver 2015

The science is the same in Europe, as it is in Asia and North America. Empirical evidence is not different from place to place.”  – Susanna Carson, CEO at BSIbio presenting at the National Zero Waste Conference.  Susanna co-chairs the product design & packaging working group for the NZWC.

Our challenge, in the bio-based packaging world, is not scientific – certified compostable products. Our research this year has shown that certified compostable products, even PLA, do biodegrade in a reasonable amount of time given commercial compost conditions.  The challenge is getting everyone, from manufacturer, to 3rd party compostable certifiers, to consumers, to policy-makers and waste facilities to work together. Which brings us to lesson #2…

Lesson #2: Don’t Hesitate, Collaborate 

A diverse group of people tackling the same challenge make for a challenging path, but the final solution is bound to be effective.  When you take on a sustainability challenge yourself, either as an individual or a company, it’s an uphill battle.

How do you collaborate?

First step is to share your goals.  Even if you need to re-work those goals to match reality, you’ve got a much better chance getting the support and information you need to go waste-free or carbon neutral if you share your ideas with people.

Second step is diversify.  Share your goals and ideas with people you’ve never spoken to before.  Everyone in the sustainability field has different ideas on how to tackle a problem, and we are all innovators in our own way.  We attended Future’s Strategies’ Leverage Lab Conference this year and saw collaboration across industries in action.


Third step is to implement, and adjust.  If you’re not seeing the waste diversion you’d like to, can you communicate your goals better? Can you adjust what materials you’re purchasing to increase your diversion rates?  The lesson here is if it’s difficult, don’t give up, keep going through the steps and accept small wins as you see progress.

Lesson #3: Little Company, BIG Impact

Small businesses make up 98% of all businesses in BC. Collaboratively, we can make a big impact when our needs are the needs of many.  At BSIbio we met amazing small businesses through Climate Smart, which are innovating at both small and large scales to reduce their environmental impact.

Our contribution to the bio-packaging industry and research this year was a huge undertaking with a big impact – we established protocols to help organic waste facilities test BESICS products.

What does this mean?

Compostable products are tested in a lab to ensure that they breakdown quickly into usable soil, BUT we wanted to take our products to the next level and test them at the actual compost/organic waste facilities to prove they breakdown correctly under natural conditions. Did our products degrade at facilities?  You bet.

Read more about our research project here.

Looking ahead we will:

  • celebrate our 11th birthday this year!  We can’t believe how time flies and we are so proud to continue to serve our environmentally conscious customers.
  • continue to be valuable contributors to our industry.  Just last week Susanna and Emily, our Compost Specialist, presented at the US Composting Council in Jacksonville, Florida.
  • continue to work with waste facilities to help them deal with perceived contamination issues.
  • launch more quality compostable products to meet the demand of our increasingly environmentally conscious society

Tweet the top 3 lessons in sustainable packaging to your network!

 

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From touchdown to trash talk – compostable food ware is a ‘must have’ for consumers today

This weekend, as people all over North America gather around their televisions and potluck meals, they will be talking about football, beer, and FOOD!

Check out what Marylin Denis has to say about hosting a party with perfect, effortless clean-up that is easy on the environment. Skip to the 33 minute mark to see our BÉSICS®  product line in action.

The Marilyn Denis show teaches us how to make zero waste a part of our events in this episode.

Certified compostable food ware is an easy, guilt-free solution for quick service at events or even at home.

 We are so proud compostables are part of the conversation that is gaining traction as we look for ways to reduce our impact on the environment.  If you are someone asking hard questions about packaging, thank you!  You are part of the driving force for positive change.

Companies following consumer trends know people are willing to pay more for products provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact. In fact, this group of people increased from 50% in 2014 to 66% in a 2015  Neilsen survey.

Consumers love it for convenience and it speaks volumes about your brand.  Just ask our friends at Greenmuch!

What does your packaging say about you?  Having strong aesthetic appeal is only part of the equation and today’s savvy consumer is expecting companies to step up and take action to preserve our planet.

Share this post and let your network know you are reducing your waste on game day! 

BSIbio “…because disposable products shouldn’t last forever”

#buybetter #compostable #gameday #thankyou

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EPISODE 4: Harvesting Power… A Compost Story: Research in Richmond

This is the fourth post in a 5-part series on our journey from certification to acceptance of our compostable food ware products in the Metro Vancouver region. Read Episodes 1, 2, and 3 for the background on this story, and bookmark our blog to follow along!

 

The drive to Richmond is our shortest one yet, and we approach Harvest Power along a rural industrial route. Past a bend, and we can see the methane digesters appear behind the entry house. Our tour earlier in the year showed us where the buildings are and what everything does, but it’s a whole different story now that we’re here to dig into the organics!

Our BSIbio composting story at Harvest has two parts, since they use two different organics processing methods. Richmond Fraser Soil & Fibre is the original facility on the site, with an aerobic, static pile composting system. In 2010, Harvest Power partnered with Richmond Fraser and the Federal Government to bring a high-solids anaerobic digester to the site.

Anaerobic Digestion is Not CompostingSurprise surprise, anaerobic digestion is not composting! By removing oxygen from the organics, only microbes who do not use oxygen can survive. These microbes make methane, and the methane created is collected for energy.

The solid end product of anaerobic digestion – called the “digestate” – can be treated in various ways to become a marketable product. Harvest mixes their digestate into an aerobic static pile, reintroducing oxygen and composting to the digestate to complete its processing.

Harvest Power Aerial Diagram - Richmond BC - Anaerobic Digestion
Harvest Power has a complex layout for their mixed aerobic and anerobic operations.

Harvest has two static piles on the site. One, a certified organic compost stream which takes a restricted, clean feedstock of woody material and residential food waste. The other, a commercial compost stream, combines anaerobic digestate with woody material.

We’re testing our BÉSICS® products on both piles so we can see how our products perform in a regular, large-scale static pile, and also in a high-solids anaerobic digester followed by a static pile.

It was a wet sloppy day to prepare our bags and it turns out it’s not very easy to pack our bags with the anaerobic digester feedstock – after its been thoroughly crushed and combined, it’s a pungent mixture of all the food waste you can imagine – very wet and chunky. Our team innovates a novel bag fill system on the fly, and before we know it, our bags are ready to go!

Harvest Power Anaerobic Digestion Filling Research Bags

Filling our sample bags with a mixture of compostable foodware, and soon-to-be compost!

With our gas meters, filter masks, walkie-talkies, and various safety apparel, we’re chatting closely with the operator who will be loading our bags into the system. A slippery adventure later, and the tunnel is packed and closed to begin its 10 day percolation stage. Just like in Whistler, we will trust our bags to complete their adventure without us.  We’ll come back when they’re ready to switch to composting!

Harvest Power Static Pile Compostable Foodware Disintegration Research

Burying our sample bags on the static pile, ending up 6-12 feet deep!

The aerobic static pile is actually composed of 24 separate rows of compost. So, when we switch the bags to the composting side, we lay them on the side of a row before it’s filled. We attach long rope tails and neon flags to find the bags when we come back.

So began the start of a 3 month odyssey into the complex ecosystem of the Harvest, Fraser Richmond Energy Garden in Richmond, BC.

Harvest Power Disintegration Testing

The team ending the day at Harvest Power Energy Garden in all our safety get-up.

Bookmark us and check back for the Episode 5 conclusion to our Compost Story!

 

BSIbio dug into the compost at regional facilities with the University of British Columbia to make sure our products return to the earth.

We know our products will never disappear, and can only be converted into something else. 

Why do you care? Compostable products become a part of our Canadian landscape through the soil. When you buy these products, you want to be sure they really do what they say they do, breaking down completely and safely. This research is essential as we strive for truly responsible compostable products. Your interest and support of our mission helps make it happen!

Posted in Certification, Circular Economy & Life-Cycle Analysis, Compostable Series, Compostable Series, Organics Ban, Zero-waste | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

EPISODE 3: Whistle while we work… A Compost Story in Whistler, BC

This is the third post in a 5-part series on our journey from certification to acceptance for our compostable food ware products in the Metro Vancouver region. Read Episodes 1 and 2 for the background on this story, and bookmark our blog to follow along!

This week we share our adventures at an in-vessel composting facility in Whistler and Squamish. 

The drive along the Sea to Sky highway is beautiful, with sweeping bends of asphalt dodging between cliffs and ocean. Even better when it’s the break of dawn in Fall 2014, and the leaves are just starting to turn. It was an early drive to start our first day at Whistler Compost Facility, a state of the art in-vessel or ‘tunnel’ compost facility in Whistler, BC. We’re partnering with them to test how our compostable food ware and packaging breaks down in their tunnel.

Tunnel composting is gaining popularity as facilities pop up across North America.

Diagram of an In-Vessel Tunnel Compost Facility

A diagram of a typical in-vessel tunnel composting facility.

Enclosing compost in a tunnel helps you monitor and control moisture more accurately than when the pile is exposed to the elements.

‘Spinners’ are agitation bars within the tunnel that turn the compost to keep a consistent moisture level, high and consistent oxygen levels, and aid mechanical breakdown.

These agitator bars also mean we have to change our test method. Before, we put our products in mesh sample bags. In Whistler, there’s no way to access the middle of the tunnel to remove bags before they reach the agitator bars. In this system strong soft plastics are such a problem that the facility even removes plastic bags that are compostable, as they can jam up the bars.

Testing using mesh bags is out, so instead, we’re dosing whole sections of the tunnel with products in two sets  – “low” concentration being 10% product by volume, and “high” being 20%. This works out to a few thousand individual products for testing!

With our boxes of products loaded into the UBC pickup, we pass by thickets of evergreen forest before emerging into a sweet forest valley. The huge steel warehouse that greets us is pretty breath taking.

In-Vessel Tunnel Compost Facility Whistler BC

Outside the Whistler compost facility

Large piles of woody waste, biosolids, and food scraps are kept beside a large electric crane. The crane’s bucket holds more than a tonne of material, and the expert operators adds the three feedstocks to their mixer in a consistent ratio. The mixer is a large funnel with a spinning auger at the bottom. This both crushes and mixes the feedstock before it enters the tunnels for active composting.

Here’s where the fun begins for us! We’ve brought our products onto the deck overseeing the mixer, and we’re poised, products in hand, ready to toss them in like a deck of cards. Once we get the OK, there’s a flurry of compostable products fluttering into the mixer, loudly crunching the tonnes of material just loaded into it.

The facility manager and mixer operator join in, and we laugh as we try to be quick while preventing the products from nesting in one another as they go in. Thickness affects the rate at which a product composts, and we want each product to have a fair chance.

Finally it’s done! We watch our compostable foodware-enriched feedstock run up towards the tunnel. The manager says that our high concentration load has more foodware than they would ever see on a normal basis. Our goal is to test our BÉSICS® products to the extreme, so we are pleased.

Covering our mesh sample bags for curing at Whistler Compost Facility in Fall 2014.

Loading mesh sample bags for curing at Whistler Compost Facility in Fall 2014.

We repeat this process four times, since the facility has two tunnels for us to work with, and we have two concentrations to test.  Once our work is done we leave our products to continue on their own adventure, since the tunnel will be pushing our load through for 14 days before we see what’s become of them!

The facility cures their compost near Squamish. Curing happens in large windrows where sample bags will stay put, so for 3 months of curing we bring back the mesh sample bags. We’re careful to space the bags away from the edges and each other, then cover them up for a long slumber.

Bookmark us, and check back for our adventures with anaerobic digestion and static piles!

 

BSI dug into the compost at regional facilities with the University of British Columbia to make sure our products return to the earth.

We know our products will never disappear, and can only be converted into something else. 

Why do you care? Compostable products become a part of our Canadian landscape through the soil. When you buy these products, you want to be sure they really do what they say they do, breaking down completely and safely. This research is essential as we strive for truly responsible compostable products. Your interest and support of our mission helps make it happen!

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EPISODE 2: As the Soil Turns… A Compost Story: Adventures in Lytton

This is the second post in a 5-part series on our journey from certification to acceptance of our compostable food ware products in Metro Vancouver. Read Episode 1 for the background on this story, and bookmark our blog to follow along!

This week we tell you about our time spent at a turned windrow composting facility in Lytton, BC.

Revolution Resource Recovery (RRR) serves the Vancouver Lower Mainland, and is actually two business in one: a waste hauler, and a compost facility, formerly known as NorthWest Waste Solutions and Northwest Organics, respectively.

A hauler operating their own compost facility puts them in a unique position. For most 'Organics' Means Food Wastehaulers, contamination in their organics stream has the potential to cost them more, if the facility they take it to catches on and charges them. For RRR, contamination in the organic waste stream directly impacts their composting operation, so their sister hauler has a vested interested in encouraging their customers to go compostable without contamination. So, this compost facility welcomes BSIbio’s certified compostables with open arms.

This compost facility also has a 180-day plus compost cycle. The perfect place to start our study!

It’s 5am, the sun is just breaking through the clouds. We’re in a covered pickup truck owned by the UBC Faculty of Land and Food System, with our bags and boxes of compostable food ware for the test trial. This is our first facility and there’s a buzz of excitement in the air, although it’s a bit of a bumpy ride in the typical pickup benchseat.

Revolution Resource Recovery - Aerial view

An aerial view of Revolution Ranch

By the time we reach Revolution Ranch, John the facility manager is ready to welcome us through the bear and cattle proof gate, past rolling fields of alfalfa, and horses. We find out that much of the land we drove through is a working ranch where the compost is applied.

We begin the day inside, sorting and bagging the different products we’re testing. We chose 16 product types to represent every material combination we sell from plain, unlined paper, to paper hot cups lined with a compostable bio-polymer, to our transparent PLA beer cups and cellulose bags.

View from the porch at Revolution Ranch

View from the porch at Revolution Ranch

We sort and arrange all our products, and before we know it we’re ready for lunch! The sun-filled deck outside the headquarters has a perfect view of the mountains which enclose the valley the compost facility is nestled in, and if you stop talking you can hear the faint giggle of a stream off to the right.

Revolution is a turned windrow facility, where long rows of compost sit beside each other on a concrete pad, and are turned with a specialty machine.  We chose a windrow that has already been formed and is past the initial composting stage, to reduce our sample maintenance to every 2-3 weeks instead of every week. This means we have to dig the bags into the side of the windrow.

Digging Holes for Compostability Testing at Revolution Resource Recovery

Digging holes at Revolution Ranch to "plant" our compostable foodware samples!

Excited to get our hands dirty, we head to our chosen windrow away from the edge of the facility, since the outside rows tend to experience more extreme temperatures. It’s only when we start digging that we see the task ahead of us – our plan to dig 62 holes for our 62 bags was an ambitious one, and it took over 6 hours to get them all in. Fortunately we had our BSIbio team and a helping hand at the facility to get the job done in one day.

To test our products, we simulate an actual composting environment inside a sample bag. The test method for this type of turned windrow facility is simple; dig, fill the sample bag with products and compost from the hole you’ve dug, mix thoroughly, tie and bury. (If you’re interested in more details of the protocol, gives us a call!)

It’s fun to see our hard-prepared bags dip below the compost, and satisfying as another member of the team fills the hole, with only a rope tail hanging out as a marker to find it again when we come back each time the windrow is turned.

As the sun begins to dip beneath the mountains, the ubiquitous buzz of country insects dies down. The bugs knew when to stop work for the day, but we didn’t!

Once the very last bag is buried, there are smiles and congratulations all around. We’ve planted the bags to stay for 4-10 months, and we’ll be back every two to three weeks to repeat the process when it’s time to turn the pile. The specialty turning machine would rip through our bags in seconds, so we have the pleasure of making the trip to these lovely hills throughout the fall.

Bookmark us and check back next week for our adventures with tunnels at Whistler Compost Facility!

 

BSI dug into the compost at regional facilities with the University of British Columbia to make sure our products return to the earth.

Why do you care? Compostable products become a part of our Canadian landscape through the soil. When these pass through your hands, you want to be sure they really do what they say they do. At BSIbio it’s our duty to make responsible products, taking into account that they will never disappear, and can only be converted into something else. Your interest and support of our mission helps make that happen!

Posted in Certification, Circular Economy & Life-Cycle Analysis, Compostable Series, Green Spotlight, Organics Ban, Zero-waste | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

EPISODE 1: Once Upon a Time… A Compost Story: How We Got To Here

This post begins a 5-part series on our journey from certification to acceptance for our compostable food ware in the
Vancouver Lower Mainland of BC, Canada.

BSIbio is a specialist in compostable food ware and packaging. We entered the industry ten years ago, pre-2010 Olympics, with the single minded intention to create foodware that would go back to the earth after it was used.

A few years in the industry and the cracks began to show around us – blended plastics marketed as compostable when they are not adding to the confusion between conventional and compostables (both within the industry and by the consumer), and most importantly – facilities not accepting certified compostable products. This is not what we envisioned!

THE QUESTION: What happens when you create a product designed to solve a problem, and you find out it’s only halfway to its potential due to issues outside your control?

Yes, BSIBio’s compostable products are bio-based to reduce reliance on ancient fossil fuels, a huge step in the right direction. But, we need a composter to make the connection for a circular economy.

Hot Cup Undergoing Composting

A semi-backyard composted hot cup circa 2009

We began with a survey of municipal composters in the Pacific Northwest. We asked them, “Do you accept our products? If not, why not?”, and came to some startling conclusions.

As of August 2013, only 53% of facilities in our target markets accepted all of our compostable food ware.

The reasons were many:

  • It’s confusing
  • The facility has no capacity to remove contamination
  • Too hard to tell the difference between compostables and non-compostables (blended products don’t help!)
  • Bio-plastics aren’t allowed in certified organic compost
  • The one that really struck us was: bio-plastics don’t compost

How could this be? Our compostable products are certified under the most reputable international lab standards; they meet the scientific definition for composting; and we have a handful of facilities that not only like our products, they encourage customers to use them to increase organics diversion.

Third Party Testing

Taking matters into our own hands, we gathered momentum behind a research pilot to address how we can close the loop. Starting in the winter of 2014, we partnered with the Foodware & Soiled Paper Working Group, convened under Metro Vancouver in preparation for their Organics Ban. We began working with the Metro Vancouver Research Collaborative, and hooked up with UBC Land and Food Systems. In mid-May we had our team together to apply for funding and the NSERC Engage grant was the perfect fit. By September 2014, we had the partnerships and tools to walk the talk in compostable food ware, beginning an exciting 10 month journey into the world of commercial composting.

Tune in next week for the second installment of this 5-post blog series into and beyond our research project!

 

BSI dug into the compost at regional facilities with the University of British Columbia to make sure our products return to the earth.

Why do you care? Compostable products become a part of our Canadian landscape through the soil. When these pass through your hands you want to be sure they really do what they say they do. At BSIbio it’s our duty to make responsible products, taking into account that our products will never disappear, and can only be converted into something else. Your interest and support of our mission helps make that happen!

Posted in Circular Economy & Life-Cycle Analysis, Compostable Series, Green Spotlight, Organics Ban, Zero-waste | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

CEO Speaks! Testing Compostable Foodware and Building Industry Relationships at SUSTPACK 2015

Next week, our CEO Susanna Carson and Compost Specialist Emily McGill will be attending SUSTPACK 2015, a convergence of experts on all topics relating to packaging and sustainability, including compostables!

Susanna was interviewed by Packaging Digest about her talk and some critical questions about compostability and food ware.

Check out the article here or read the full text below!

BESICS and BSI Biodegradable Solutions CEO Susanna Carson

We test our compostable products at facilities, and here's why! At this year's SUSTPACK 2015 Sustainable Packaging Conference in Orlando, FL, Susanna Carson will be presenting the afternoon breakout session "“Certification vs Collaboration: Securing End of Life Options for Compostable Packaging” based on BESICS' experiences doing on-site facility testing with our products in the Vancouver Lower Mainland from September to February this past year.

Decisions about which packaging materials to use for your products continue to be influenced by sustainable strategies and goals. Compared to recyclable and/or recycled-content materials, compostable packaging often seems to be dismissed before really being considered.

But with a resurging interest in “bio” materials, packaging designers might want to take a second, closer look.

At the upcoming SustPack 2015 conference (Mar 31-Apr 2; Orlando, FL), Susanna Carson, president, BSI Biodegradable Solutions, will be presenting a case study of how one brand owner is working to bring stakeholders together to create solutions and improve material acceptance in a session on “Certification vs Collaboration: Securing End of Life Options for Compostable Packaging.”

Here, Carson remains optimistic on the future of compostable packaging and confronts the issue of certification head on.

 

What is the level of interest in compostable packaging materials in the U.S. today and why?

Carson: The highest level of interest is from the consumer. People are genuinely interested in doing better for themselves and their communities. The more that people (and science) learn about the long-term impact of packaging waste in our oceans and landfills, the more tired we are of being given convenience products that cause health and environmental problems down the road. We make brand choices when they fit and are affordable; and this consumer demand creates interest from corporations.

Compostable packaging is being driven largely by the consumer and adopted by brands who are listening to what consumers want. While interest is high, the use of compostable packaging materials is lower as companies work out issues of price, operational systems, disposal and facility acceptance and material performance considerations. No one wants to fail, so this takes time.

 

Why aren’t certifications enough to ensure end-of-life acceptance for compostable packaging materials?

Carson: Compostable packaging materials are the result of amazing technology. Plant-based materials and bio-polymers look, feel and perform just like conventional petroleum based materials, except that certified compostables won’t last for decades or centuries in the environment. The similarity in look and feel is a bonus for those of us who use the products—we get what we are used to. But it can make it hard for facilities to tell the difference between a non-compostable petroleum material, a greenwashed “biodegradable” non-compostable material and a certified compostable material.

Healthy compost is essential, so facilities may reject all materials (even certified compostable) out of a real concern that their compost will be impacted by the non-compostable.

 

Can you give us a preview of the case study you’ll be talking about at the SustPack 2015 conference and how successful the company has been so far?

Carson: I’m going to tell the story of Besics certified compostable consumer foodservice and food packaging products. Besics products have been on the market commercially since 2005 in Canada and as a retail line since 2010 in the United States and Canada.

Our brand promise is a quality service-ware product that doesn’t need to go to land fill or incineration, but what do you do when your compostable product can’t go to compost? At Besics, we decided to start a conversation…then we decided to get dirty and put our brand promise to the test. We built a research project, gathered partners and worked directly with facilities.

The result has been incredibly positive. Facilities better understand our products, their compostability and the integrity of the Besics brand. We better understand what facilities need in order to work with certified compostable packaging materials. We’re building tools to help with testing and assessment. In the end, we have the same goal—to create healthy compost for the North American landscape. Besics is one of a growing group of brands collaborating to make it happen.

 

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