Ballarat-based entrepreneur Ellen Burns is leading the way to a better snack food industry at just 29 years old. Ellen’s snack company we bar none has become the first Victorian business to use 100 per cent certified compostable packaging on its energy bars.

The wrappers are made from ethically sourced and sustainable plant fibres. When the snack is finished, the wrapper can either be thrown in the compost or buried in the garden to safely degrade in a matter of weeks. It can also safely break down in seawater, meaning they won’t choke marine life or clog up the ocean if they somehow end up in the waterways.

Since starting the business in 2015, Ellen has grown increasingly uncomfortable with the waste that she was creating. “Even though my packaging was recyclable, it was still confronting to receive the boxes of plastic pouches,” she said. “It was awful knowing that I was responsible for putting that out into the world, especially since we’ve been shown recently how unreliable recycling really is.” In an industry that relies on packaging to keep food fresh and portable, Ellen wants to show people that convenience foods don’t have to be inconvenient for the planet. “Reducing waste has always been very important to me, but a waste-free lifestyle didn’t seem to match up with being a business owner,” she said. “We’re living in a time where people are finally starting to really think about their impact on the planet.”

Ellen says that despite increased knowledge around waste and how it affects the planet, consumers are still torn between their desire for ethics and desire for easier options. “We’ve seen the backlash from the plastic bag ban. There are things that people don’t want to give up. We live busy, mobile lives, and packaging is necessary,” she said. “Packaging is vital not only in the food industry but in other fields like medicine and science. It’s really important that we have viable plant-based replacements. The technology is there now. We finally have an alternative.”

Ellen’s main mission for we bar none is to make the business completely plastic free.

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