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AORA backs compostable bags amid plastic bag ban debate

A woman with single use plastic shopping bags
The Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) has called for support of certified compostable bags as an alternative to single-use plastic bags.

AORA has welcomed discussions and the recent Ministerial Roundtable with a view to more states banning single-use plastic bags, but it emphasises that compostable bags should be exempt from any levy or sanctions.

The association supports the ban on all single-use, non-compostable plastics, agricultural films and packaging that cannot be reused, recovered or recycled in any way. However, it is raising awareness that compostable bags don’t fall into this category and are the best solution for the source separation of food and garden organics.

Peter McLean, AORA Executive Officer, said: “It’s important that everyone understands the differences between products claimed as degradable, oxo- degradable, biodegradable and certified compostable. They simply aren’t the same thing, and unless they are Australian Standards certified compostable, then they are not considered suitable for use in organics recycling.”

The statement from AORA last week emphasises the importance of compostable plastics carrying the Australian Standards certification to define the product will biodegrade in a commercial composting operation.

The association said organic recyclers and composters recognise that householders need a convenient way of containing the likes of kitchen waste, and as certified compostable bags are suitable and not detrimental to the environment they should be exempt from any ban on single-use plastic bags.

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