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What is bagasse?

Bagasse (otherwise known as sugarcane fibre) is the fibre that remains after juice has been extracted from sugarcane.

Around 1.8 billion tonnes of sugarcane is harvested worldwide—30% of the crop yields sugar products, but the other 70% has little economic value and is largely treated as waste. Bagasse packaging production finds a new purpose for this agricultural by-product, helping to reduce waste and support farmers.

How is bagasse produced? 

The process of converting raw sugarcane into a sustainable product is much more straightforward than you might think. The juice is extracted from the stalks, evaporates to create raw sugar, and the fibrous residue is collected, dried and pressed into board. The board can then be moulded into a variety of different products.

Environmental benefits of bagasse

20,000,000 trees are cut down every year to manufacture paper cups—most of those cups are coated in polyethene—which takes 20+ years to decompose in landfills.

Bagasse provides a sustainable alternative to these tree-based paper products.

Renewable: bagasse is a by-product of food production—instead of going to waste it is repurposed, so this material is considered an extremely renewable resource.

Compostable: In as little as 60 days, bagasse can be composted entirely—leaving behind no toxic residue. When composted, bagasse turns into a nutrient-rich fertiliser of nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium.

How does bagasse compare to alternative materials?

The advantages are clear when you compare bagasse to other alternatives, such as paper, Styrofoam, and petroleum-based plastics:

  • Bagasse is thermal resistant and can hold hot food up to 120°C
  • Bagasse products are water and grease resistant.
  • It has insulation properties that retain heat for a longer time compared to paper and plastic containers.
  • It is microwave safe.
  • It is refrigerator and freezer safe, so it can be used to store food until consumption.
  • Products made from bagasse are more durable than polystyrene containers due to the fibrous texture.
  • Fruits and vegetables stored in bagasse products have longer shelf lives, because the material is highly porous, and absorbs excess moisture.
  • Packaging made from bagasse is more robust and better quality than most alternatives, including products made with a PLA lining.

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