ABA: leave compostables out of plastic bag ban

Used plastic carrier bags for recycling
The Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) has called for support of certified compostable bags as an alternative to single use plastic bags, as discussions continue around a plastic bag ban.

ABA is the peak industry body for bioplastics manufacturers, converters and distributors in Australia and New Zealand.

The organisation said in a statement that it welcomes discussions and the recent Ministerial Roundtable regarding more states banning single-use conventional polyethylene plastic bags, such as New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland have. When South Australia, the Northern Territory, the ACT and Tasmania prohibited plastic bags, they left out certified compostable shopping bags.

ABA said that, as opposed to plastic bags, certified compostable bags are a convenient way to capture food waste, can be disposed into green waste bins and sent to composting. The compost can be used to improve agricultural soil quality by returning carbon and other nutrients back into the soil.

Commenting on its position, ABA President Rowan Williams said: “Certified compostable means compostable and biodegradable. Collecting food waste in the home in conventional plastic bags condemns the contents and the bag to landfill.

“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.”

ABA’s statement follows a similar announcement made by the Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) to have certified compostable bags exempted from a ban on conventional polyethylene plastic bags.

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