25 Nov 2005
Biodegradable Bonus(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 12,2005)
Vol 12, 2005
Roots Biopack Ltd
|Environmentally-friendly containers from Roots Biopack Ltd offer clients new, niche opportunities|
The firm manufactures 100% biodegradable food containers and packaging products particularly suitable for buyers servicing fast food restaurants and supermarket chains, the medical sector, and the foodstuffs and airline industries. In fact, it is widely applicable to almost any sector.
On offer are bowls, boxes, plates and trays in shapes and sizes often specific to the sector they serve. Roots Biopack also supplies the large Japanese firm Mizuno with disposable inserts for golf shoes.
"We are expanding into new product areas and are looking into diverse possibilities for our biodegradable containers," says director Peter Cheung. "Our main line at present is containers for food packaging, but this in itself is a very diverse field and offers unlimited business possibilities. However, we are definitely committed to a wider range of applications beyond foodstuff packaging."
The various containers are made from raw materials that are readily available on the Chinese mainland, where production takes place.
"Sugar cane is one of the main materials and, thanks to the mainland's massive agricultural base, is cheap and available in large quantities," says Cheung. "After the sugar has been extracted from the sugar cane plant, the remaining fibre is then processed into a form of pulp board which we use as our raw material."
Cheung says that when the container is disposed of, it will decompose at ambient temperatures (approximately 28?C) within 12 weeks - in garbage dumps or soil - with no remnants. "The main ingredients are 96% natural fibre, 2.3% water and 1.7% biodegradable mixture."
Roots Biopack has been in the business for more than 10 years, and has gathered a lot of expertise. "We can handle custom orders and we can make products in all sorts of shapes and sizes. All the client need do is simply submit the design criteria and we will take care of the rest," says Cheung.
"Besides regular food packaging items like plates, bowls, and trays for the fast food industries and supermarket displays, other examples of our flexibility are the containers we manufactured for Maxim's Mid-Autumn Festival mooncakes in 2004 and 2005," he adds.
All containers on offer undergo certified testing in Asia, North America and Europe, and comply with the highest hygiene standards in accordance with the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). In addition, the products have also passed the JIS test standard required by Kosei Sho (SCAS) - the Japanese Ministry of Health.
"Most of our products are destined for Europe and we do find that the Europeans are more environmentally aware and demanding. This is why most of our quality certifications concern European countries," says Cheung.
"As a socially-responsible corporation, our production equipment and products and manufacturing processes are ISO 9001 (Quality Management System) and ISO 14001 (Environmental Management System)-certified and are in accordance with international regulations and standards.
Besides biodegradability and microbiological tests, the firm's products are also approved under Hong Kong's Environmental Protection Department's standards for degradability and food safety.
On the performance side, the products have passed tests such as oven safety and heat resistance, and have also proved microwave safe. In terms of physical performance, the products have passed tests for static loading, low temperature resistance, water and oil proofing, fold resistance and acid resistance.
"Recently, we received an award from the Hong Kong Superbrands Council and another from the Hong Kong Q-Mark Council. We also won the Hong Kong Eco-Products 2005 bronze medal and the HSBC SME Living Business 2005 Ruby Award," remarks Cheung.
In the Asia-Pacific region, the firm's biodegradable containers are marketed and used in Taiwan, Japan, Australia, Korea and Hong Kong.
"Our food containers were also designated suitable for use at the 2002/03 World Exhibition, the 2003 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships at St Moritz and at Mystery Park in Switzerland," Cheung says.
A major business opportunity arose when Roots Biopack serviced the 2005 World Youth Day celebrations in Cologne, Germany, in August 2005. More than one million youths attended the event and were served biodegradable food containers. "We do a lot of custom-made products like that for various clients and we help them define their needs to ensure they get exactly what they want," he says.
Clearly forging ahead in the eco-friendly realm, it appears certain that Roots Biopack Ltd will have a biodegradable container near you very soon.
WRITTEN BY TONY HENDERSON
Roots Biopack Ltd
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