Sustain: The Sustainable Food Packaging Range

Sustain: The Importance Of Sustainable Food Packaging

Here at Bunzl Irish Merchants, sustainability has always been a primary focus. We aim to provide products that do the job, but don’t negatively impact the environment.

We always seek out the newest sustainable and eco-friendly products in order to provide our customers with the best there is. Because of this, we are now stocking products from the Sustain range that can transform the impact packaging has on the planet.

The Sustain range is completely renewable – it’s made from 100% renewable sources and is 100% commercially compostable, where facilities are available.

What is sustainable

It’s renewable because there are no oil-based plastics used in production, making it a solution for completely untethering your packaging needs from your plastic usage. Instead of traditional oil-based plastics, the Sustain range is made from sustainable materials sourced from trees, corn starch, or crop by-products like sugar cane pulp.

All of these sources are sustainably grown, and then processed into the high-quality packaging sold in the range.

Packaging from the Sustain range is also 100% compostable, which means it is designed to be collected and commercially composted with your food waste. Despite common misconceptions, it is not biodegradable.

What is compostable

Compostable means that a product can degrade into compost. Compostable materials are materials that have been certified to break down completely. During composting, products will break down into CO2, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass, which leaves no visible contaminants or toxic residue. After this process, the waste is turned into a nutrient-dense mulch, ideal for growing yet more plants.

For a product to be classified as commercially compostable, it much be certified to EN13432 standards or its equivalent.


Speaking more specifically, Sustain products are manufactured using the following materials:

Paper cup for sustain

These are plastics made from plants. Specifically, the bioplastics in the Sustain range are made from the starch contained inside plants, which is processed to create a polymer. It’s possible to produce most polymers from biomaterials, but the Sustain range uses Ingeo PLA (poly-lactic acid) in particular.

Bioplastics behave in a similar way to conventional plastics, and are highly suitable for most packaging applications. However, unlike finite resources such as oil, which takes millions of years to form and hundreds to degrade, they are annually renewable.

Because of this quality, bioplastic are suitable for commercial or industrially produced compost, within 12 weeks, where facilities exist. They offer a much better alternative to conventional plastics in this respect, as they can be composted alongside food waste.


This is a waste material produced when sugar syrup has been harvested from sugar cane. Bagasse is a fibrous material, both from a renewable resource and made from a waste product.

Sugar bagasse is transformed into packaging products from its raw form, using a process of heating, pulping, and then pressurised moulding. The final result is a packaging product that is heat resistant and microwaveable, making them the ideal hot food container.

Like the products created using bioplastics, they are compostable and 100% plastic free.

Palm leaf plate
Areca palm leaf

These products are compostable, stylish, tough and heat resistant – and they’re simply made from leaves.

Whole-leaf products have no starch, no pulp, and little processing. They are simply leaves fallen from trees in India, washed and pressed into unique plates and bowls. They keep their shape without the aid of chemicals, glue or anything else, and are incredibly durable products.

When you’re ready to compost them, they go right back into the soil.

Because plates made from these leaves are naturally-grown and pressed, they vary slightly in thickness (between 2-4mm), as well as in colour and pattern. So, not only will your plates and bowls be sustainable, but each will be completely unique.

Sustainable forest paper

Any of the paper/card based products from the Sustain range come from trees farmed from a responsibly managed forest. This applies to things like cups, bio-boxes, wrap containers and the like.

The trees are replaced faster than they are consumed, and our Sustain Food Packaging ensures that these tree farms are managed correctly in order to maintain forest integrity.

Why do we need to use sustainable packaging?

Many of the resources used in the manufacturing process for traditional food packaging is unsustainable, in that it’s sourced from finite fossil fuels. There is not an unlimited amount of oil in the ground, and it can’t be reproduced on a meaningful timespan, which means that once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Even outside of sustainability and long-term resource efficiency, however, the traditional materials for packaging production are also directly harmful to the environment in more immediate terms. Burning of fossil fuels, used in the production of many products, leads to a direct negative impact on air quality, and pumps harmful emissions into the atmosphere.

There’s also the issue of recycling. Oil-based plastics are non-degradable, non-compostable, and generally difficult and costly to efficiently recycle or reuse. This means that using them in packaging production not only drains their finite supply and causes direct negative environmental effects, they also mostly only every get used once.

Trees, plants, and other bio-manufacturing material sources that are used in sustainable packaging products like those in the Sustain range, however, are sustainable. They can be replenished on a short timespan by replanting, they’re compostable under the right conditions, and they can be recycled for multiple uses.

The impact of a mass-scale shift towards sustainable packaging could be hugely beneficial to our planet, its resources, and our future.

Our Sustain range was designed to offer you the value, variety, and selection your business requires and customers expect.

Take a look at what we can offer you and your business.

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Bunzl Retail Supplies provides food and retail sustainable packaging, hygiene and cleaning solution that keep over 45,000 businesses in Ireland running smoothly, every day.

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