Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Styrofoam packaging masks as biodegradable product

Tuesday July 19, 2011

DEALERS and consumers have been warned that there are cases of imitation packaging in the market that are touted to be biodegradable but in reality are not.

The warning came from Greatpac Sdn Bhd, the manufacturer of the Jasa Eco Biodegradable Foam Products.

Greatpac senior manager Douglas Tan said they were facing the problem especially in Penang.

“We believe it is a move by our competitor to increase their market share,” said Tan.

Spot the difference : Tan said the biodegradeable packaging manufactured by Greatpac are stamped with “Jasa Eco Biodegradable Foam” (right), while the competitor’s styrofoam packaging are stamped with “BIO2”
Greatpac launched its products in February to offer an alternative to the existing foam packaging.

The range uses an organic additive called EcoPure which takes about two years to biodegrade in a landfill environment.

Tan said Greatpac had spent US$4,000 (about RM12,000) for tests to ensure that the products conformed with the American Biodegration Standard ASTM D5511, and that the company had submitted all the test reports and certifications to the Penang government.

“Our biodegradable food packaging was targeted at Penang in particular due to the state government’s imposed ban on polystyrene food packaging,” said Tan, adding that the Selangor government is considering a similar policy.

“Greatpac found out about the competitor in early June, and learnt that hawkers were being duped into buying the competitor’s product.

“Rogue dealers and manufacturers are taking the opportunity of the policy by selling the styrofoam packaging at biodegradable packaging prices,” he added.


Tan said those products manufactured by Greatpac were stamped with “Jasa Eco Biodegradable Foam” while the competitor’s products were stamped with “BIO2” but were supposed to represent “B102” (“i” instead of “one”).

“Colour is added to the competitor’s products to make it look like biodegradable packaging, but they are in fact styrofoam packaging.

“Dealers would sell a Jasa Eco biodegradable lunchbox for eight sen per piece and the competitor’s one for 5.5sen.

“Hawkers and consumers who unknowingly buy the imitation packaging end up paying much more for a product they are likely to get fined for,” he said.

Tan also said the Taman Perkaka Village Safety and Development Committee, whom Greatpac had worked with on a roadshow to promote its biodegradable packaging, had called the competitor’s manufacturer who admitted that their products did not have any biodegradeable element.

“We have been informed that the Seberang Jaya Municipal Council plans to take action on this matter, and that the Penang City Council will follow suit.

“We urge the state government to have an approved brand register to allow manufacturers to submit their products to the state government to verify their authenticity and for the federal government to adopt a proper definition of biodegradable,” he said.

Greatpac brand manager Shaun Ooi said Malaysia was not seen as a green country in terms of manufacturing and the imitation products would further tarnish the market.

“These styrofoam packaging that are being sold as biodegradable packaging would affect the health of the environment,” he said.

Tan added Greatpac would continue selling the products and try to educate its dealers on the difference between its biodegradable packaging and competitior’s styrofoam packaging.


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