CHOICE membership

Plastic packaging & plastic bags



I don’t think @Fred123 was giving unconditional praise, it was the article that he linked to that was the source of the eco-friendly that outperforms styrofoam header to his post:

" Eco-friendly foam outperforms the "real thing"…//…Not only is it said to surpass the insulating capabilities of petroleum-based foam, but it can also support 200 times its own weight without deforming, it degrades thoroughly, and it doesn’t produce ash when incinerated…//…The team is now looking at scaling the production process up to an industrial level, utilizing inexpensive feedstocks to create a “commercially viable product.”"


Our local Asian noodles business has a new type of packaging for their takeaway foods which consists of a thick paper container with a very thin, fairly flexible plastic lid which seals perfectly but is still easy to open, unlike the usual rectangular or round plastic containers with plastic lids.

Almost as good as their food. Great stuff.


Don’t use microwave to heat up anything as I don’t want nutrients zapped out… takes bit longer stove top but it 's all in the taste. After being warmed up in the microwave the taste alter.

Now all jars etc at home are glass. Still trying to find something to replace clingfilm.


An article regarding the disgraceful pollution on the Cocos Islands.

I believe that Dr Wilcox’s comments regarding expanding the container deposit scheme to include plastic items is essential.


From the CHOICE microwave oven buying guide:
Microwave ovens are a safe method of food preparation if used correctly, and the food is just as nutritious (more so in some cases) as with any other cooking method.


East Timor plans to recycle all plastic waste with a new leading technology plant.

It tiny East Timor can do it, why aren’t we?



How do you know this?

I think that you have that experience but I very much doubt it could be shown in a blind test. To be clear, it is likely your taste experience is reduced because you believe the microwave harms your food. Please don’t take this as a personal criticism, we are all capable of having our experience altered by our belief, that is why scientists use blind testing so their own beliefs can have no effect.


If this is what you mean, we recently bought some PCs and the insides were packed with it (pardon the commercial link, no endorsement or recommendation intended). As for recycling it,not good news for us, although there are a number of special return/recycle facilities around the world.

I have to presume this is just one of many current products, and representative of the lot of them.


It appears there is some science to how food actually tastes depending on temperature. It is not related to nutrient content.

Science also suggests we digest and extract value from hot food more effectively than cold food.

True, heat does affect some nutrients. I’ve always assumed, right or wrong that if a meal was cooked initially, reheating or zapping it in a microwave would make little difference to those nutrients.

I recollect that for some foods, microwave cooking was a superior method to boiling or baking and retained more nutrients?

The short - BBC Science

And long - CSIRO (typical of them to fill the pages)

We however do not use plastic in the microwave. Especially the clear plastic storage containers that have ‘Microwave’ in the descriptive label. We have also been caught out with glass storage bowls labeled as Microwave storage containers. It is all BS! They were not heat treated and soon cracked.

Apparently CHOICE there is no Australian Standard for ‘MicroWave-Safe’. Given the CSIRO acknowledge this why have they not grabbed this one with great vigour?

In respect of food safety there are many other standards, but not one to protect us poor consumers or provide an assurance for microwave use.

Whether it is a plastic derivative container, plastic film, glass or ceramic, the manufacturers and or importer has open slather!

I have plenty of prior evidence of superheated fats or liquids contained in a ‘microwave labeled’ storage container reacting with or melting and bubbling the container lining. I doubt this is unique? :rage:


We cook our broccoli, brussel sprouts, snow peas, sugar snap peas and asparagus in our microwave by placing them in a dessert dish with a little water and covered in cling wrap,and cooking them on high for 5 minutes.

The water is clear when we drain it so no lost vitamins and no pale or soggy greens.



Interesting product, but not the one I recall. It was either loose popcorn or the popcorn was compressed in a mould into something similar to styrofoam which is used today. I am not sure how the popcorn was moulded, but think it could have had some sort of adhesive or compressed under heat and steam. It was rigid, but could be readily broken up with some force/hitting. I haven’t been able to find it online and think it may have been a trial rather than a fully commercialised product (or the business went bust).

Maybe biosecurity controls also caught up with them making it difficult to ship products internationally?

One of the guys I worked with took the popcorn home to feed the chooks…I never tried it myself as I imagined at the time it could have been stale and also possibly not of food quality.


If recycling is a farce in Australia, then it is beyond a joke in Brazil.


Changing ‘the way’ at a grocery. Might we see a similar try in 2034 (our common lag time)?


For general use, I normally buy 2kg bags of Coles brand sugar at just $1.80 each, but when I shopped at one local Coles yesterday, they had no stock, so when I went to another local Coles as I needed to get some green bananas, they also had no stock of Coles 2kg sugar.

I then bought the new Coles 1kg packs of sugar now packaged in “enviromentally friendly” plastic bags.priced at $1.00 each.

Whilst the previous paper bags that Coles 2kg & 1kg sugar were packed in were a minor problem with sugar sometimes managing to escape from the paper bags on the shelves, in the trolley, at the checkout, and at home, surely there was a better solution than using more plastic packaging.

The bags are much less user friendly to open as the previous paper bags could simply be opened without any cutting or tearing.

The plastic bags require that the “sticky seal”: be unpeeled or cut throught and the top of the plastic bag be sliced open or cut off with scissors.

I assume that when bags of Coles 2kg sugar are back in stock, they will also be in the new plastic bags.

It appears that what the plastic bag elimination campaign picks up on the merry-go-round, it loses on the hurdy-gurgy.



Fred @Fred123 The best coarse of action in this case is to vote with your feet (wallet ) CSR and Black and Gold pack their sugar in 1- 2 - 3 KG in paper bags . Unless there are mega dollars in the price differential don’t buy the Coles product .

They have market researchers that will see the downturn in sales of their sugar and soon change the packaging back . Shoot an email off to Coles/Myers too . Let them know your concerns .


Coles is supplied with Australian sugar which most likely is from CSR.

I will check if the CSR packs are still in paper, and even if they are, they might not be for much longer.

There is a considerable price difference between Coles branded sugar and CSR branded sugar when not on special as per the Coles website.


The CSR brand is owned by Sugar Australia (A joint venture between Wilmar Sugar Australia (75%) and Mackay Sugar (25%), we operate two sugar refineries in Yarraville, Victoria and Mackay, North Queensland. )

CSR the company is now predominantly into building products.

Wilmer is a Singapore based enterprise, and Mackay Sugar is grower owned, but up for sale due to increasing debt, with a proposed deal to German company Nordzucker AG still to be agreed.

It remains challenging that with Australians finding readily massive sums to invest in property plus the trillions invested by our super funds, the nation is risk adverse to investment in core agricultural and exporting industries.

Are foreign investors likely to decide on paper or plastic for any reason other than cost of the packaging?


I visited Coles, Woollies and our local Supa IGA today and checked the sugar

Woolies Essentials white sugar was still in paper packs but all their brown and raw sugar was in the new “enviromentally friendly” plastic packs, as was Bundaberg sugar.

Supa IGA had their Black & Gold 1kg brown sugar in plastic packs as were some of their Bundaberg and CSR sugar packs.

It is obviouly a change initiated by the millers and it appears that all brands of sugar will be going this way.

As for contacting either Coles or Woollies to complain, I have tried that many times over the past decade or so and I have never received the courtesy of a response, (apart from the automatic reply), let alone a resolution.


A clever approach to reducing the use of plastic bags? Or will these become sought after items proudly carried and evolve into collectors items? People can respond in unexpected ways.


Products such as brown sugar have been in plastic bags since, well since, well before? I can’t remember when it is so long ago. It certainly predates decimal currency.

These plastic bags were treasured life long family possessions. The bag was carefully cut across the top nearest the heat seal to minimise waste, the contents transferred to a glass jar, and the bag washed and dried. Typically school lunch sandwiches were found in the bags, to be cared for and brought home for tomorrow. No brown paper bags at our home.

I suspect there is a reason brown sugars come in plastic packaging?
White sugar nearly always came in paper, unless you needed a larger quantity, in which instance hessian was also popular.

One way forward is a zero plastic world, although there is an alternate environmental cost for paper.
An alternative is to make better use of the plastics we have and ensure they are recycled.
The one way throw away use of any packaging has a cost irrespective or origins. (Paperbark collected from the melaleuca in the front garden may be an exception?)