Fisher & Paykel Healthcare – A small commercial decision, a large environmental impact
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of products and systems for use in respiratory care, acute care, surgery and the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. The company’s world-leading healthcare products are used to improve health outcomes for millions of patients every year.
The company recognised the impact that operations and activity of an organisation their size and strength could have on the environment. They partnered with Ecoware, New Zealand’s only carboNZero certified packaging company, to supply high quality and affordable food packaging made from plants, and switched from their traditional petrochemical product. In committing to enhancing peoples lives, equal consideration for the environment cannot go amiss. Because with the advancement of human need, is the imperative of also advancing the natural resources we depend on.
Making moves from polystyrene to compostable cups
With over 2000 employees on their East Tamaki site alone, there are multiple in-house cafes, caterers, and staff kitchens equipped with coffee machines and water filters. It’s easy to imagine the amount of waste their office activity can generate. Since the partnership began in November 2016, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare have diverted a significant amount of waste away from landfill by moving from polystyrene to compostable EcoCup’s.
A small decision has had an enormous environmental impact. The average volume of organic waste collected from Fisher & Paykel Healthcare in the 5 months before rolling out Ecoware packaging was 3.6 tonnes. The use of Ecoware cups has increased awareness about diverting food waste and compostable packaging from landfill. After just one month of using Ecoware product, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare’s volume of organic waste collected increased to a total of 5.5 tonnes, sparing the equivalent of 62,500 polystyrene cups from landfill.
Since then (November to June) the average amount of compostable waste has continued to grow thanks to an onsite awareness campaign and is now around 7.2 tonnes per month. Waste that may have otherwise gone to landfill was able to take the path of re-use and assist with the growth of next-generation plants.
“We recognise that the natural environment is of essential value.”
These results demonstrate that the presence of compostable packaging can encourage diversion of food waste from landfill, which coincides with a recently commissioned literature review in Australia. The report examined a growing body of evidence demonstrating that the introduction of compostable foodservice packaging suggested positive effects on the value chain and an increased diversion of food scraps to landfill (Foodservice Packaging Institute, 2016).
When organic waste is condemned to landfill, the result is often fugitive methane that escapes into the atmosphere, acting as the world’s biggest contributor to global warming. Toxic leachate is another byproduct, which has the potential to pollute surrounding soils and waterways. When food and food packaging waste is composted in optimal conditions, natural biodegradation will occur, leaving behind a nutrient-rich fertiliser or compost that can be used to assist the growth of next-generation plants; a completely sustainable economy.
Plants become packaging and returned back to the soils they came from. Ecoware is proud to partner with Fisher & Paykel Healthcare on their sustainability efforts. Change will not happen overnight, but collective effort and partnerships like these will steer us towards greater change. Ecoware has the solutions and are ready and awaiting the pioneers like Fisher & Paykel Healthcare; those willing to strive for better care of our natural resources that are so pivotal to human lives.