As new regulations call for takeaways and street food vendors to use biodegradable or recyclable packaging, traders must look for new options.

With Oxford City Council recently announcing that the food containers used by takeaways and street vendors must be either recyclable or biodegradable, it’s clear the tide is turning in favour of sustainable packaging.

The move, the first of its kind in the U.K., is great news for the environment, and is sure to be just the tip of the iceberg, as many towns could follow suit. (Even New York City is set to enact similar regulations later this year.)

But where does this leave the nation’s traders and vendors in terms of meeting new regulations?

Many small businesses will be left asking themselves where they can source materials that meet environmental guidelines and how the cost will impact their bottom line. Fortunately, there are alternatives available, and they don’t cost as much as you might think.

Biopac is ready to take on the changes and help food traders meet any new regulations they might face. Starting in 2002, the team at Biopac have been working to create the best alternatives to non-biodegradable packaging. Many of the containers are made from cornstarch or sugar cane, meaning they’re eco-friendly and completely in line with regulations calling for biodegradable packaging.

What we’ve come up with is an extensive range of containers that are ideal for caterers, takeaways and street food vendors. There are a few reasons why the Biopac range fits the bill so well. First, we will help traders ensure that they’re in compliance with any regulations that are established with regard to materials in their packaging. Knowing you will meet the standards brings peace of mind – not to mention saves you the potential cost of any fees you might face for not meeting the requirements.

Next – and probably the most appealing benefit of the Biopac products if you’re in the food industry – is that they keep your food fresh, hot and delicious. The traditional polystyrene containers food-to-go retailers have been using for years trap heat, creating the condensation or “sweat” that makes chips go soggy or salads go limp. The natural fibres in Biopac containers have excellent thermal quaities, meaning the food stays hot, and when the customer opens the takeaway box, the food looks and tastes as nice as when you boxed it up. And for an added bonus, the containers are microwavable and freezable too, so your diners can heat and enjoy leftovers.

There’s a full range of options on offer, from the traditional fish and chips and kebab boxes, to containers for every sort of hot and cold food or beverage you can imagine. Whether you serve hot soup or frozen yoghurt, Biopac has a packaging solution for it. We supply napkins, cutlery, plates and kitchen roll too, all from the same natural fibres. Our product range is growing by the month, too, so every type of restaurant or food trader can have the best options available for their particular needs.

One thing traders will want to watch out for as they start to investigate alternatives for their packaging needs is products being sold on the market that claim to be eco-friendly but won’t meet the requirements. As Mark Brigden, Technical Director at Biopac, explains: "In reality, these products may be just conventional plastic with an additive that merely breaks the material into fragments. These fragments still take 200 years to disappear. The best way to be certain is to ask your supplier for the relevant certifications." Especially as city and town councils work out the details of what exactly constitutes "biodegradable," it’s important to be aware of what the regulatory body expects of you as a trader and to be sure your supplier meets your requirements.

Finally, there’s another benefit to be gained from using Biopac containers at your business, and that’s the opportunity to boost your brand’s good name. The British public are increasingly expressing that they want to patronise businesses that use good sustainable practices. Using environmentally friendly packaging shows customers you share their concerns, and can build trust and loyalty amongst your clientele. Biopac even provide custom branding of your logo on containers, carrier bags, cups and napkins, which will promote your business whilst reinforcing the message of sustainability. It’s the kind of added advantage for a small business that you can’t put a price on.

That said, Biopac products don’t cost much more on average than polystyrene catering packaging – but they can add so much value to your business.

If you’d like to read more about Biopac’s innovative line of eco-friendly food service products or check prices, please visit our website at www.biopac.co.uk and why not request some samples to try the packaging out for yourself?