World First for Hawke’s Bay Organic Apple Company

A world-first home compostable apple zip lock pouch bag, has just been launched by New Zealand’s largest organic apple producer.

Bostock New Zealand has spent over 12 months developing what it believes to be, the world’s first certified home compostable zip-lock pouch bag for apples.

Owner, John Bostock says it’s very exciting to be launching the home compostable pouch bag in New Zealand and around the world.

“We are trialling our new pouch bags in Countdown stores around the North Island and some Foodstuff supermarkets this week. We have also launched a trial in Russia and have been receiving some very positive feedback.”

The bag is made from rice, potatoes and corn derivatives blended together and took 12 months to develop a bag that was strong enough to hold a kilogram of apples.

“One of the major challenges was the zip lock on the bag. We worked with a New Zealand company to find a converting facility in Germany that could accommodate the zip lock, macro-perforations and gusset with a monolayer home compostable film,” said Mr Bostock.

The packaging is certified to the Australasian, European and American compostability standards. However, currently in New Zealand there is no official home compostable standard. In order to achieve international home composting accreditation, the bag must disintegrate in 90 days, and biodegrade within 180 days in a home compost environment.

“Finding sustainable packaging solutions is a real focus for our company as we move to reduce plastic where we can.”

Bostock Far East International Market Manager, Vladimir Beliakov says Bostock New Zealand has been exporting organic apples to Russia for four years and has been proud to trial the compostable apple bags there this season.

“Home compostable packaging is very new for fresh produce in Russia but Russian consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious and aware of sustainable packaging.

“We are already fielding inquiry from customers who want to stock the compostable apple bag, which is positive progress and shows that there is growing awareness amongst Russian consumers.”

Last year Bostock New Zealand was the first apple exporter in the southern hemisphere to start using compostable fruit stickers on some of its apples.

Bostock New Zealand has also been trialling other sustainable and compostable packaging options across its products, including home compostable wood fibre netting for its organic onions.

“We are moving to use less plastic across our company and are continually looking for more sustainable packaging options. However, this comes at a price as the compostable packaging is a lot more expensive,” says Mr Bostock.

The new home compostable apple pouch bag is at least three times more expensive than a plastic apple pouch bag.

“We need to make compostable packaging solutions more affordable, so they are financially sustainable for our business and others following the same path. This will also enable us to roll out more environmentally focused packaging.”

As part of Bostock New Zealand’s drive to reduce plastic across the company it has set up a dedicated internal team, called “Project Green” to help achieve this.

The initial goal was to reduce waste sent to landfill by 50% within three years and the company has reduced the waste by 43% in the last 12 months.

This has also led to responsible sourcing initiatives to phase out waste across every part of the business. This includes using less plastic which could remain in the orchards. For example, using hessian strings on the apple trees, rather than plastic string.