ABA supports certified compostable bags

Wednesday, 18 May, 2016

The Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) has called for support of certified compostable bags as an alternative to single-use lightweight plastic bags, which have already been banned in South Australia, the ACT, Northern Territory and Tasmania.

The ABA supports bans on conventional plastic bags as they are not compostable, not biodegradable and rarely recycled at end of life, instead ending up in landfill or as litter. However, in a similar call to the one made by the Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA), the ABA is requesting to have certified compostable bags exempted from a ban on conventional polyethylene plastic bags.

“Collecting food waste in the home in conventional plastic bags condemns the contents and the bag to landfill,” said ABA President Rowan Williams. “Source separation of the food waste into certified compostable bags will allow the local council, processor or organics recycler to know that the bag can safely pass through their operation without having to be diverted to landfill.

“The bag and its contents will completely disappear in a composting environment, within the composting process cycle. Conventional polyethylene bags, no matter what additives are used which are claimed to cause biodegradation, will never achieve the required performance of these standards.”

The ABA noted that oxo-degradable, biodegradable and certified compostable are not the same thing. Unless bags are Australian Standard AS 4736-2006 certified compostable or Australian Standard AS 5810-2010 certified compostable, they are not considered suitable for use in organics recycling. The ABA performs verification of claims made by individuals and companies that wish to have their claims of compostable and biodegradable products verified.

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