We are pleased to report the  following article about Australian Bio-Plastics, published on 12 Nov 2014 on Weekly Times .

Joe Gagliardi was working in the automotive industry when he noticed the waste plastic left behind by the horticultural industry.                                                                                                                                                                   When he was out in the field repairing tractors and machinery, he despaired at the piles of mulch film left to be burned in mounds or taken to landfill

So in 2004 he decided to make a change and started sourcing a biodegradable alternative from Italy.                  His Company, Australian Bio-Plastics, got off the ground in 2006 and started importing bio-resin from Italy to produce biofilm in Melbourne.                                                                                                                                                     “It’s something that has been used in Europe quite extensively” Mr. Gagliari said. “It’s a solution, not just a product.”

Australasian Bioplastics Association vice-president Warwick Hall said thousands of tonnes of conventional mulch film was used in Australia every year.

“Growers are under price pressure and have to look at the immediate bottom line, but it certainly is a changing market.” Mr. Hall said. “The time will come where bioplastics will replace conventional mulch plastic.”   “It’s environmentally sustainable and takes a major contaminant out of the ground and water system.”

The biofilm is designed to break down on farm, so there are no removal or disposal costs.

“The resin is made from vegetables and leaves, no heavy metals or plastics in the soil,” he said.                         But unlike in Europe where farming is heavily subsidised, Australian farmers have been slow to adopt the new technology.  

“It costs about two-and-a-half times as much as conventional mulch, but it evens out  when you consider that you do not have to remove it,” he said.                                                                                                                         “Department of Primary Industry in Queensland has done a cost comparison for us as an indipendent third party which shows it works out cheaper in the long run.” Bowen, Queensland, tomato grower Jamie Jurgens said using biofilm had reduced his labour costs.

Mr. Gagliardi is looking to create a product for use in cool climate cotton growing, as well as bioplastics products for hay silage.                                                                                                                                                              “It’s a work in progress,” he said. “There’s lots of material out there in agriculture that can be replaced with a biofilm.”                                                                                                                                                                                      Karra Organics owner Rob Ridgwell has used Mr. Gagliardi biofilm’s on his Palinyewah, NSW, farm for three years. “We’re certified organic and that requires responsible disposal,” he said. “We avoid to use any plastic [that are not] biodegradable.”

Source: Weekly Times