What is packaging for environment?

Packaging for environment is containers and packaging products that take environmental considerations seriously. Manufacture of products for environment attempts to minimize environmental impacts in all of its operating processes including using raw materials that are environmentally friendly, using clean energy, minimizing production wastes, and appropriately disposing chemicals and substances generated from the production processes. Packaging for environment also focuses on how consumers use the products and attempt to promote environmental awareness among consumers. Most importantly, packaging for environment does not cause pollution and its disposal does not impact the environment.

What should we consider when choosing packaging for environment?

  1. Raw materials (plant fibers or fibers from replacement trees)
  2. Manufacturing processes
  3. Certificates
  4. Functionality and food safety
  5. How packaging waste is managed? What is the impact to our environment?

What are the characteristics of a good packaging product?

  1. Safety for Health. We put our food in containers or packages but certain types of containers and packages contain chemicals or dangerous substances that can be leached into our food.
  2. Environmentally friendly. We consume food everyday and food packaging waste that is difficult to decompose is one of the pressing problems in our society. Food packaging waste is increasing because we continue to consume food and create waste. Many waste disposal factories are facing waste accumulation problem since this waste can only be buried in landfills. It cannot be eliminated by burning because of direct environmental impacts.
  3. Convenient and functional. Today, there are many products with good designs that combine functional convenience and environmental consideration. Packaging products for health and environment may be banana leaf that we used in the past or another packaging made from natural materials.

Why should we use the biodegradable packaging?

Health and environmental issues are major crisis for Thai people. According to 2010 data, the rate of cancer incidence has alarmingly increased to 100,000 cases per year. The most recent mortality statistics (2009) show that cancer has higher mortality rate than any other causes of death. A number of 56,058 people per year die of cancer (average 153 people per day or 6 people per hour), the majority of whom have liver cancer. The Ministry of Public Health states that chemicals or substances that leak into food are the major cause of cancer. Environmentally, many places particularly large and tourist cities are facing waste management problems. Non-biodegradable packaging waste requires large disposal areas, landfill expansion, and appropriate management. The use of alternative packaging may not bring immediate changes but these problems will never been revolved if we do not do anything.

What question does Gracz’s research try to answer?

To answer how to produce containers and packaging that are good for health and the environment, Gracz has researched for over 5 years and finally reached the conclusion. It is bagasse of sugarcane. With its physical properties, bagasse is well suited for packaging products. Bagasse containers and packaging are able to contain both hot and cold food, and even hot oil. They are ovenable, microwavable, leak proof, and naturally decomposed. Bagasse packaging products have quality, functionality, safety, and cost that are more superior to other traditional disposable packaging products. One of the reasons why we choose bagasse is because Thailand is the world largest producer of sugar and we have a large amount of bagasse from sugar production processes. We chose to build our factory in Chinat Province to be close to the source of raw materials and to generate incomes to local communities. In the past 6 years, we have marketed our products domestically and internationally under Biochanaoy brand. We have received many awards and certificates including Bai Po Business Award and OK Compost Certificate. In 2012, we have rebranded our products as Gracz, which means grace and goodness for all mankind and the world. The new image of Gracz brand has been created to respond to the market that is expanding both domestically and internationally, as well as within AEC member countries.

What differences do Gracz make?

We are Gracz...a biodegradable packaging made from natural plant fibers that are good for health and environment. We believe that we have only one life to live on the only one planet that we have to do our best to take care of. We are social enterprise focusing on social and environmental responsibility.

What makes Gracz a packaging for environment?

Gracz products are :

  • Clean, safe to use, and free of substances causing cancer
  • Ovenable and microwavable
  • For both hot and cold food
  • Decomposed in landfills within 6 weeks
  • Made from plant fibers
  • Environmentally friendly

What is Biodegradable Packaging for Environment Public Company Limited’s next steps?

We to focus on building the product awareness and market expansion by distributing our products across all channels such as department stores and 7-Eleven. Moreover, to support domestic and international sales growth, the second factories have been built to increase the production capacity from 200 million pieces per year to 650 million pieces per year.

  • Develop products made from other plant fibers
  • Improve product functionality to meet the needs of each customer group
  • Develop non-food packaging products for the industrial sector

Is eating food from a foam food container causes cancer?

Polystyrene or foam food containers are commonly used as hot and cold containers. This type of containers contains styrene listed in the Cancer Causing Agents Group 2B – substances that are possible carcinogenic to humans. Since styrene well dissolves in oil and alcohols, using foam food containers to contain high fat food or hot acid food may lead to leaching of styrene into food. For example, hot noodle soup with seasoning vinegar may cause more styrene to leach from the foam food container.

Is Gracz packaging more expensive than foam food containers?

Price of a foam food container is approximately 0.50 Baht but a hidden cost can be up to 328 baht per container.

What is a hidden cost?

A hidden cost is the cost for cancer treatment which is between 70,000 - 100,000 Baht a month. Gracz products are sold at approximately 1.30 Baht per container but without a hidden cost because Gracz products are made from 100% natural materials. In 2009, according to Thai Post Newspaper, 56,058 Thais or 88.34 Thais of every 100,000 populations or 156 Thai per day died of cancer, 10.7% increase from 1999.