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2 October, 2020

GROUND BREAKING INNOVATION

Each year the seafood industry is responsible for approximately 500 million polystyrene fish boxes entering landfill and our oceans. Kurrimine Beach fishers, Tom and Kath Long were determined not to add to this total when looking for a way to transport their premium quality reef fish to the markets and restaurants in Sydney

By Peter McCullagh

Seeking a suitable alternative to the traditional white fish boxes, they researched and tested alternative products. 

“Nothing matched the polystyrene for performance or durability,” said Kath Long. “We needed an alternative. 

The volumes of polystyrene heading into landfill or even worse our oceans really concerned us. “With no suitable alternative we decided to innovate our own solution. 

“We needed it to be economically responsible as well as durable and also needed to thermally efficient.” 

After several years of testing and research the TomKat KoolPak was developed and trademarked. The Long’s innovative packaging and transportation boxes are set to revolutionise the seafood market worldwide. 

“We have already conducted several extensive trials of our boxes, testing them for durability and thermal efficiency and the results are excellent. “Our research and testing process is exhaustive. 

We need to ensure our boxes are durable, totally recyclable and also thermally efficient. Independent testing by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, has proven that the KoolPak has equivalent thermal performance to polystyrene, and in some situations, such as if product is left on a tarmac in the sun, exceeds it. 

The KoolPak has airline approval for up to 25 kg, which is 25% more than an equivalent sized polystyrene box, without the need for a single use plastic liner bag or single use restrictions. 

 “We are committed to developing a suitable alternative to these single use plastic boxes that take up to 500 years to break down in landfill and are responsible for the single most debris that pollutes our oceans. 

The TomKat KoolPak project has now entered a very promising stage with discussions underway with a company which was founded by an environmentally conscious entrepreneur seeking to bridge the gap between agrifood, tech, startups and early stage investment. “We would love to see our product totally replace the polystyrene boxes. 

These foam boxes are universally used and universally discarded with over 240 000 cubic metres of Styrofoam going into landfill in Australia each year. They are a blight upon our environment.” Local government councils in Far North Queensland have embraced the need to reduce our reliance upon plastics.

 Douglas Shire Council recently adopted a Single-use Plastics Policy designed to significantly reduce the amount of plastic pollution in the Great Barrier Reef area. The campaign to reduce the level of plastics polluting our pristine environment has been embraced by all. Tom and Kath Long passionately believe their campaign will have a lasting positive effect upon our natural environment. 

“We want to protect the planet, one KoolPak at a time.”


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