Seafood specialist Blue Harvest has taken steps to ensure its oyster packaging is not adding to the ocean plastic problem, choosing compostable sugarcane pulp-based trays supplied by BioPak.
The number of single-use plastic trays, wrapped in plastic, currently used in Australia to sell oysters runs into the millions, and although Blue Harvest is in the early stages of the product's launch, this step has the potential to prevent 1.5 tonnes of plastic being used per annum.
Scott Walter, managing director at Blue Harvest, told PKN that the drive to have more sustainable, environment friendly packaging is an imperative for the seafood industry.
“We farm oysters, and a key factor in our success is a clean ocean environment. There’s an inherent hypocrisy in choosing plastic packaging that could, should it end up as pollution, perpetuate a problem that endangers our industry’s livelihood,” Walter said.
Walter relates that Blue Harvest was aware of the BioPak containers being used in the food service sector. “At the start of this journey, we bought a few takeaway containers and conducted our own trials to see if this material would hold up in a refrigerated environment.
“We were pleasantly surprised. The way the sugarcane pulp is pressed in the production of this packaging creates a sufficiently watertight membrane. Our oysters are meant to be consumed within a day or two of purchase, so we don’t need packaging that lasts a very long time,” Walter said.
He added that the new packaging has elevated the presentation of the oysters, typically considered a premium product, a message not conveyed by the previous plastic packaging with shrinkfilm overwrap.
The pack design emulates the shape of the oyster, with individual cavities that help maintain product freshness and quality.
According to BioPak, the packaging supplier, the BioCane sugarcane pulp-based pack is certified home and industrially compostable and the matching PET lid is recyclable. The packs are also sturdy and stackable to simplify storage and service.
The new Blue Harvest oyster packaging is currently rolling out in Woolworths NSW stores and independent seafood retailers around the country.