Jill de Clerck, purchaser Brabopak:

“Plastic fresh produce packaging should be compostable in Walloon”

As of 1 September, fruit and vegetable bags should consists of at least 40 per cent organic material according to legislation from Walloon and Brussels. Moreover, the bags should be biodegradable. Packaging company Brabopak from Wommelgem, Belgium, is working on the final testing phase to develop a bag that meets these requirements, so that fresh produce packaging can be compostable.

The new packaging will consist of 40 per cent potato starch.

Brabopak’s branch in Wommelgem.

Jill de Clerck is responsible for purchases at Brabopak. According to her, the change requires quite a bit of work. “The organic grains we use for the packaging are made from potato starch,” she says. “That potato starch comes from remnants of potatoes. The organic grain will be processed into the fruit and vegetable bags for 40 per cent.”

Compostable plastic
In Walloon and Brussels, the fruit and vegetable bag has to be made from 40 per cent organic grains, and the bag has to be compostable at home. The remaining 60 per cent of the material is made from plastic, although this will also be degradable, according to the manufacturer. Biodegradable plastic can come from both fossil fuels and from new materials. Flanders currently has no such law, unlike Walloon and Brussels. 

Brabopak’s degradable packaging will nearly be marketed in Walloon and Brussels. Paper bags for potatoes, like the one pictured, have been available from the company for a while.

In Walloon, the packaging will soon have to consist of 40 per cent organic grains, so that the packaging can be compostable at home. This isn’t the case in Flanders. Plastic fruit and vegetable bags such as pictured above can still be offered in supermarkets.

Other fresh produce packaging
Brabopak focuses on distributing and developing packaging, for the fruit and vegetable market as well. Jill has noticed demand for packaging has been changing somewhat in recent times. “Although we still mostly distribute the plastic bags to fruit and vegetable departments of supermarkets in Flanders, we have noticed customers switching to paper bags more and more,” she says. “The paper bags have been made in such a way that they are less likely to let moisture out, which can quickly become a problem when dealing with fresh produce. Because supermarkets in Flanders aren’t obligated to buy paper, it makes sense they would choose the cheaper plastic packaging. Moreover, paper has become scarcer due to the increase in demand, so that delivery times are increasing.”

The packing company from Wommelgem distributes their packaging material mostly to supermarkets in Belgium.

Brabopak also distributes packaging for apples and pears.

For more information:
Uilenbaan 200 unit 6
2160 Wommelgem (Belgium)
T: +32(0)3 236 73 49
F: +32(0)3 235 85 08

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