To commemorate Earth Day on April 22, City News profiles supplier of eco-friendly tableware and food-packaging material, Olive Green.
Contributed By Yong Yung Shin
A recent article in Time magazine reported that the ozone layer has been on the mend for the past two decades, thanks in major part to the Montreal Protocol in 1987, which was fundamental in phasing out ozone-depleting chemicals. While the ozone is “far from fixed,” there is no doubt that international awareness on using material such as Styrofoam has increased.
On the forefront of the green cause are companies that have sought out alternatives to fossil-fuel based products such as Olive Green, a Singapore-based company that develops, manufactures and distributes the cornstarch-based bioplastic, Origo. Used in the production of eco-friendly tableware and food packaging material, the bioplastic biodegrades completely after 90 days. It is also up to 68 percent carbon-neutral when incinerated, reducing the amount of greenhouse gases significantly.
“Since Origo consists of 70 percent starch, once the used disposable has been thrown away and incinerated in Singapore’s context, that 70 percent of starch will produce far less carbon dioxide compared to a disposable that is made from 100 percent worth of petroleum,” is the explanation on Origo’s website.
Additionally, it is designed to be microwaveable and free of leachable toxins. Locally, Origo has been awarded the Green Label; internationally, it has been accredited by various recognized organizations. It is also ISO-certified.
City News speaks to Aloysius Cheong, director of Olive Green, on the headway the business has achieved in the past two years.
In the beginning when we started in Singapore—about two and a half years ago—the market response was rather poor. Our products were unheard of and customers did not have a good understanding of how our products help the environment.
In fact, people were not well-informed about global warming at all. With some of our marketing efforts and environmental campaigns by various environmental groups, we can really see awareness picking up. It is much easier now to communicate with customers with regards to environmental issues and how our products can contribute toward the green cause.
What are some of the biggest reactions to Olive Green’s products?
Most are very amazed to learn that our products are made from corn.
How do you achieve sustainability and profitability in the business?
One of the misconceptions people have of our product is that since we are an eco-friendly product, we must be much more expensive. Contrary to this, with technological advancements, our prices are very close to what regular plastic products cost.
Why are you passionate about being green?
We understand that as citizens of Earth, we should be responsible stewards of our home. There has been so much destruction caused by humans, and much of this is caused by the excessive usage of fossil fuels. We hope to do our part by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.
CornWare is sold at Carrefour, Cold Storage, FairPrice and Sheng Siong supermarkets.