In Circular economy

Sustainable Development Goals

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. They are a call to action for peace and prosperity by 2030.

Australia was one of the 193 United Nations members that agreed to the SDGs. The goals address population growth, income growth, climate change, environmental protection, justice and equality. They also focus on health, wellbeing and sustainability.

The UN is asking all of us to talk about and take action towards the SDGs. Here’s how we’re working towards the SDGs at BioBag:

Enabling a circular economy

BioBags close the loop circular economyThe material used to make BioBags is a compostable resin called Mater-Bi, produced by Italian research company Novamont. They’ve been working on environmentally friendly alternatives to polyethylene for more than 20 years. 

Novamont’s Sustainability Report shows how they are supporting the SDGs.  How does this relate to us at BioBag?

SDG 2 Zero hunger

The food scraps we throw away are valuable resources that can restore vital nutrients to soil so we can produce more, healthy food via composting. The largest kerbside bin audit ever done in South Australia was commissioned by East Waste across seven Adelaide councils. The findings showed using compostable bags is a very easy behaviour change to get food scraps out of landfill bins and into green organics bins for recycling into compost. East Waste General Manager Rob Gregory said across all seven councils, the key to successful food recycling was compostable bags.

capturing organics nourishes soilThe Mater-Bi resin used to make BioBags is subject to ongoing development in Italy. This report on Mater-Bi shows the impact of bioplastics on food production is almost zero. It also explains the effect of growing corn on water resources for SDG 6.

SDG 3 Good health and wellbeing

Plastic breaks down into microplastics up to 5mm in diameter. These pollute our land, waterways and bodies. BioBags help prevent plastic pollution because they leave no microplastics or harmful residues.

Read more in our blog on the detrimental effects of microplastics on our health and economy.

SDG 7 Affordable and clean energy

The melting point of compostable film is lower than traditional polyethylene film so it uses less energy. Research shows the energy required to manufacture BioBags is half the amount needed for traditional plastics.

The BioBag factory is also powered by solar electricity.

SDG 8 Decent work and economic growth

BioBag Australian manufacturingLocal manufacturing ensures a steady supply of BioBags for lining council compost caddies. This results in local jobs and economic growth.

Manufacturing locally has given us more flexibility to find compostable alternatives. For instance, we make mailing satchels, agricultural mulch and coffee machine liners.

SDG 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Our Adelaide factory is also innovating custom solutions for single-use plastic problems. We’re making a growing range of compostable solutions thanks to support from the Government of South Australia.

Our new agricultural mulch gives farmers a compostable alternative that returns to the earth as organic matter instead of polluting soil with microplastics that remain for decades, even centuries. In a circular story, the BioAgri film helps to grow fresh produce transported from farms to retailers. We can also make compostable carton liners that can be recycled in green bins or compost bins.

SDG 11 Sustainable cities and communities

Grassroots change makers across Australia are collecting food scraps to rejuvenate soil through community composting. To collect kitchen waste, many people use compostable bags such as BioBags that are provided to all householders in some areas.

how to downsize your binA growing number of local councils are trialling or introducing FOGO recycling services. This transforms organic waste from households and businesses into compost. This compost is applied to community parks and gardens, creating a continuous loop for organics.

SDG 12 Responsible consumption and production

Instead of working in a linear economy where goods are designed for disposal, we need to create products that maintain resources at their highest value. A circular economy designs out waste by using less finite resources and more renewable energy sources like plants.

We recycle and reuse any production waste in the manufacturing process of our bags and films.

SDG 13 Climate action

Food waste in Australian landfills produces the same amount of greenhouse gases as the emissions of Australia’s steel and iron ore industries combined. Composting is a massive opportunity to mitigate climate change. Soil stores more carbon than the planet’s biomass and atmosphere combined.

SDG 14 Life below water

The results of a two year independent study in the USA confirmed BioBags help prevent plastic pollution. The Better Alternatives Now report found BioBags completely disappeared on land within six months and in the ocean within two years.

The UK’s University of Plymouth found compostable bags disappear in marine environments within three months.

SDG 17 Partnerships for the goals

what's the difference compostable degradable plastic Collaboration is one of the key enablers for the circular economy. Partnerships are also critical to the SDGs. BioBag is partnering with the Direct Mail Centre of Australia to create a home compostable mailing film, Compostable Wrap. We also partnered with local cucumber wholesaler IG Fresh to create a fully compostable cucumber wrap.

Incremental change is the key to achieving any goal. We can each keep some plastic out of landfills and collect some organics for composting. We believe these are the small changes that will create universal change.

References:

  1. Australian SDGs Summit 2018. Unlocking the Opportunities of the Sustainable Development Goals. Outcomes Report (2018)
  2. Novamont: Sustainability Report 
  3. RMIT University Watch My Waste
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