Waste & Resource Recovery

Melbourne Business School switches to BioPak compostable packaging

Melbourne Business School (MBS) has implemented a well-considered strategy to address issues of sustainability within its activities and has turned towards the BioPak Compost Service in a bid to reduce their waste on campus and diverting between 2,000 and 3,000kg of compostable waste, which previously went to landfill each month.

According to a report by Griffith University, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and green procurement remain high on the agenda for many companies and organisations operating in Australia and worldwide.

With consumers becoming increasingly more conscious of environmental issues, adopting sustainable business practices can help you stand out from the competition and be recognised, as well as the obvious environmental benefits.

MBS wanted to reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with single-use disposable packaging sold via campus foodservice outlets. It recognised that the appetite for single-use disposables aren’t likely to diminish and looked for a more environmentally-friendly alternative that would align with their sustainability strategy.

MBS have greened its foodservice offering by switching to BioPak compostable packaging and joining the BioPak Compost Service, which facilitates the collection of used BioPak compostable cups and packaging, along with food and organic waste produced at MBS.

As advocates for sustainable business practices, MBS wanted to lead by example and reduce the waste produced that goes to landfill. Switching to compostable single-use disposables and the BioPak Compost Service is part of its sustainability strategy and complements existing recycling services.

Environmental sustainability was a given, so it was also important to look at the practical things – like easy ordering, fast delivery and a great range of products.

“At MBS, we need to be responsible and accountable for the waste we produce and dispose of, as well as providing our staff and students with the option to use more sustainable alternatives,” said Mark Edmonds, facilities manager.

“Single-use disposables are used at on-campus foodservice outlets and with the appetite for single-use items unlikely to diminish, MBS needed to consider the lifecycle and impact of that item when making selections as a business.

“BioPak offers a circular solution, and from a business perspective, made it so much easier to move into this area.”

MBS felt that in the near future, composting programs would become the norm and possibly mandatory for all businesses. As a business school, MBS wanted to set an example.

Having had some experience with composting and gained exposure to permaculture principles and gardens along the way, Edmonds developed a keen interest in waste minimisation.

“At MBS, colleagues were already arranging to take the coffee grounds off-site to local community gardens. Individuals were making big efforts, so as a business it was time to develop a robust strategy,” Edmonds said.

“MBS were using a compostable BioCuttlery and trialling a compostable BioBowl in the new MBS Hub café. I really wanted to test this and see how far we could take this in a commercial sense on a much larger scale at MBS in reducing our waste on-site. And with that, all the pieces were in place to launch a commercial composting program. It was a natural progression, and with BioPak, it became a really easy transition to make.

“While initially there was some trepidation, following the launch, the composting program was received really well. It’s a testament to the people involved, especially in unseen areas like our kitchens with support from chefs and catering staff, who were willing to try new things and change habits.

“I think showing people the benefits and bringing them along promotes staff investment in what we’re trying to achieve. They then, in turn, became advocates. I think we can also take pride in this.”

Currently, MBS are diverting between 2,000 and 3,000kg of compostable waste, which previously went to landfill, each month. By simply doing this, MBS are preventing the creation of harmful emissions, reducing waste-to-landfill and removing the need for conventional plastics within the business.

“What would be really great is to reach a point where landfill makes up a fraction of our waste, and as technology and new products emerge, compostable waste will increase,” Edmonds concludes.