Lightweight, single-use plastic shopping bags will be banned in Western Australia from July 1 next year.

The State-wide ban will bring Western Australia into line with South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory which already have plastic bag bans in place. Queensland has also vowed to ban the bag from July 1, 2018.

Plastic bags make up a relatively small portion of solid waste and litter but can significantly harm marine wildlife and birds which can inadvertently eat or become entangled in plastic bag waste.

WA’s plastic bag ban has garnered widespread support across the local government sector in recent months and among major retailers which are some of the biggest suppliers of plastic shopping bags.

Major supermarkets Coles, Woolworths and IGA have indicated their intention to ban single-use plastic bags while some WA retailers – including Aldi and Bunnings – already support the ban by not offering single-use plastic bags to their customers.

The Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) supports the banning of lightweight plastic bags, with the exception of compostable bags which can perform the function of a shopping bag and subsequently help facilitate the collection and composting of food waste.

For further information visit  www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/McGowan/2017/09/McGowan-Government-gives-green-light-to-bag-ban.aspx

Queensland’s Parliament has officially passed the Waste Reduction and Recycling Amendment Bill 2017, which introduces a ban on lightweight singlet-style plastic bags. Coming into effect on 1 July 2018, the lightweight plastic bag ban will apply to all Queensland retailers, with penalties applying to any retailer who does not comply with the legislation.

According to Queensland Environment Minister Steven Miles, the Bill passed through parliament with bipartisan support, reflecting the “overwhelming community support” for both the refund scheme and the bag ban. He has been particularly pleased to learn that some retailers have already stopped supplying lightweight plastic shopping bags in advance of the official commencement date.

A transition period will start a little before 1 July 2018 to help shoppers and retailers make the switch to reusable bags. During the transition, a retailer that normally provides a lightweight plastic shopping bag must supply an alternative shopping bag if the customer asks for one. Retailer may charge for an alternative bag, which can include a reusable heavy duty plastic bag, woven polypropylene “green bag,” paper or other type of bag.

The ban will not apply to the following bags:

• barrier bags without handles (typically used for fruit and vegetables)
• heavier-weight plastic bags (such as those used by department stores)
• bags that are integral to a product’s packaging (such as a bread bag)
• fabric and ‘green’ bags (often used at supermarkets)
• paper or cardboard bags (often used in food outlets, pharmacies and convenience stores)
• kitchen tidy or bin liner bags

This ban will affect all retailers – from grocery stores to fashion boutiques, from convenience stores to fast food outlets – that currently use lightweight plastic bags, including HDPE plastic, biodegradable, compostable, and degradable bags. The National Retail Association (NRA) is holding a series of state-wide workshops to fully brief retailers about the lightweight plastic shopping bag ban.

The Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) supports the banning of lightweight plastic bags, with the exception of certified compostable bags which can perform the function of a shopping bag and subsequently help facilitate the collection and composting of food waste. Certified compostable materials can also be used to develop heavier-weight plastic bags, “green” bags, kitchen tidy or bin liner bags, barrier bags without handles and bags that are integral to a product’s packaging (such as a bread bag). Certified compostable materials and bags are readily available, deliver the same user functionality and are an environmentally friendly alternative.

Bans on lightweight plastic shopping bags are already in place in other parts of the country including South Australia, the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania.

For further information visit www.qld.gov.au/environment/pollution/management/waste/plastic-bags/about

GMI Research latest study, estimated the global bioplastics & biopolymers market at USD 3,587 billion in 2016 and projects it to reach USD 7,622 billion by the end of 2021, and is projected to witness a CAGR of 16.27% during the forecast period.

Major factors boosting the growth prospects of the bioplastics and biopolymers market include supportive government policies and regulations due to lesser toxicity and lower amounts of carbon content, growing concern for human health, and the high consumer preference towards bio-based bio-degradable packaging.

In 2016, the Bio-PET market is estimated to surge at the highest rate during the forecast period due to its increased usage in the packaging industry. These have similar properties to conventional PET. Bio-PET helps in the reduction of a product’s carbon footprint and also helps in recycling. The properties of Bio-PET include durability, flexibility, heat resistance, printability, and lower carbon content. This makes it the best fit for numerous applications in sectors such as packaging, automotive, consumer goods, textiles, and agriculture.

The packaging and bottles segment is projected to hold the largest share in the bioplastics and biopolymers market during the forecast period owing to its growing application in food, goods, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals packaging. Bioplastics  are being used to manufacture various products such as bags, agriculture foils, toys, textiles, overwraps, lamination films, and disposable housewares, to name a few. The growing global preference for bio-packaged products by consumers is a crucial factor fuelling the growth of the packaging and bottles segment of the bioplastics and biopolymers market.

The bioplastics and biopolymers market is dominated by the European region followed by Asia-Pacific, North America, and the rest of the world. Europe holds the largest market share in the global bioplastics & biopolymers market during the forecast period. The growth of bioplastics & biopolymers market in the European region is attributed to the stringent government policies and regulations, growing concern for human health and an increasing focus from consumers towards sustainable packaging.

Source Link: https://www.gmiresearch.com/report/bioplastic-biopolymers-market.html

The NZ Packaging Forum Public Place Recycling Scheme has released the findings of a detailed survey of 27 composting facilities across New Zealand to understand their experiences with processing compostable food packaging including compostable coffee cups.

Eleven facilities have agreed to be listed as accepting compostable food packaging with a further two unnamed facilities able to do so. Seven facilities are piloting processing systems or developing the capability to accept compostable cups and other compostable packaging waste. Coverage varies with North Island facilities identified in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, New Plymouth, Hawkes Bay and Wellington and South Island facilities in Tasman and Kaikoura.

Lyn Mayes, Manager of the Packaging Forum’s Public Place Recycling Scheme which commissioned the research said: “Around 295 million hot and cold cups are consumed annually in New Zealand with over 90% of coffee cup brands are either manufactured or sold by our members.  The industry has seen a significant growth in the volume of compostable cups and with this confusion as to whether, where and how they can be composted.

“We commissioned Beyond the Bin to assess the range of cups on the market; survey facilities about whether they can process compostable cups; identify the barriers and make recommendations as to how these can be resolved. Based on the information supplied by our members, the compostable coffee cups in the New Zealand market have similar specifications and are typically certified to the EN13432 (Commercial compost European standard).”

Kim Renshaw, Director Beyond the Bin said: “The composting industry has some will and/ or capacity to process food packaging including coffee cups and in most cases, their C-PLA lids. The barriers they face to process compostable food packaging in their existing operations are varied and significant. Contamination, lack of identification, length of processing time, volume vs weight and organic input restrictions affect a composter’s will and capacity.”

“The Packaging Forum with its members can help solve these issues by creating an identification and standard for cups and innovating product design to reduce the length of processing time. Contamination, volume vs weight and organic input restrictions are process/ regulation related which require a combined effort from waste producers, service providers, regulatory bodies and packaging companies.”

“Many composting facilities have special relationships with credible waste producers, those who contaminate their waste and provide a clean waste stream which means a facility might take compostable food packaging from one customer, service provider or event who agree to use composter approved packaging and are employing decontamination techniques.”

Mayes said that the study provides a pathway:

“We have already initiated a change to our funding criteria for events this year requiring applicants to provide evidence they will separate packaging waste either during the event or through post event sortation. Our members are working with community composting service providers such as Home Grown Waiheke Trust to provide local solutions and we see an opportunity to support standalone compost units as an option for small scale local solutions. And it is particularly exciting that product innovation is taking place with members looking at the development of new products capable of home composting.”

“Work is underway to develop an agreed identification system for coffee cups which will clearly identify them as compostable or recyclable where facilities exist and a process for its use.  We have started discussion with the Waste Management Institute New Zealand (WasteMINZ) about an identification standard to ensure consistency and increase the likelihood of acceptance.”

Paul Evans, Chief Executive of WasteMINZ said “We commend industry for undertaking this research. For any solution to be effective in the long term there needs to be real collaboration between packaging manufacturers and the composting industry, recognising the potential impacts on compost products. We look forward to working positively with the Packaging Forum to determine an appropriate composting standard and identification system, which meets the needs of all parties”.

The Public Place Recycling Scheme is an industry funded initiative which is owned and managed by the Packaging Forum. Over 40 of New Zealand’s leading companies support the Scheme paying levies which are used to buy recycling and litter bins and to help fund recycling and composting at events and venues around the country.

Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) Member BioPak, is also a member of Public Place Recycling Scheme and is on the steering committee of the composting facilities study.

The full report is available on: http://recycling.kiwi.nz/

Originally posted by NZ Public Place Recycling Scheme’s website

Claims regarding the degradation of plastics can be highly confusing and understanding the difference can actually be quite simple. The seedling logo, an international certification and symbol exists clearly identifying certified compostable degradable plastics.

The seedling logo is a symbol that the product’s claims of biodegradability and compostability as per Australian Standard 4736-2006 have been verified. The seedling logo clearly identifies and differentiates packaging materials as biodegradable and compostable and clearly identifies compostable biodegradable plastics for retailers and consumers.

Use of the seedling logo will help the end consumer, retailers, customers and municipal authorities to recognise compostable packaging and dispose of it accordingly. Importantly, the seedling logo will communicate the authenticity and independent verification of claims of compliance to AS4736‐2006.

To be certified compostable and carry the seedling logo, suitable biopolymer materials must undergo a stringent test regime outlined by AS4736 and carried out by recognised independent accredited laboratories to the AS4736 standard. Once successful testing is complete, application for formal certification must be made to the ABA. Successful applicants will be licensed to use the logo along with their unique certification number.

Certification verifies that the product will fully biodegrade in an industrial composting plant under controlled conditions such as temperature, moisture and time frame – leaving nothing behind but water, biomass and CO2.

The Seedling logo is a registered trademark owned by European Bioplastics and administered by the Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) in New Zealand and Australia. The ABA launched Australian Standard 4736-2006, compostable and biodegradable plastics – “Biodegradable plastics suitable for composting and other microbial treatment” which is known as the ‘seedling logo’ certification system throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Use of the seedling logo is available to both packaging material producers and their customers, and allows retailers and consumers to clearly identify a more sustainable choice in bags and packaging.

So to avoid confusion and be certain that you are making an environmentally friendly sustainable choice, choose products and packing with the seedling logo.

For further information visit https://www.bioplastics.org.au/certification/the-seedling-logo/

Republished from Food Packing Forum May 2, 2017   Ksenia Groh Food Packaing Forum

EU-commissioned report highlights the environmental harm caused by oxo-degradable plastics; European Bioplastics calls for a Europe-wide stop of production and use until ‘better certification schemes’ are developed

On April 24, 2017 the trade association European Bioplastics (EUBP) published an article discussing the report entitled “The impact of the use of ‘oxo-degradable’ plastic on the environment,” prepared by the environmental consultancy Eunomia upon request by the European Commission (EC). Oxo-degradable plastics are conventional plastics containing special additives designed to promote the oxidation of the product, resulting in its brittleness and fragmentation into small pieces, but uncertain to ensure a complete degradation or mineralization.

There is currently insufficient evidence that the oxo-degradable plastics biodegrade fully or within reasonable time

According to EUBP, the Eunomia report, released in August 2016, is “very clear in concluding that oxo-degradable plastics should not be allowed to be sold in Europe.” The report concluded that there is currently insufficient evidence that the oxo-degradable plastics “biodegrade fully or within reasonable time,” and highlighted that the pro-oxidant additives could potentially cause toxic effects in soil. Another major problem concerns the potential contamination of recycled products, as the current technology does not allow easily separating oxo-degradable plastics from conventional plastics in the waste streams. The report stated that oxo-degradable plastics can “significantly impair the physical qualities and service life of the recycled product.”

EUBP further pointed out that currently there is a lack of suitable certification in Europe allowing to confirm the appropriate performance of oxo-degradable plastics. Further, the association pointed to the “potential damage to the reputation and image of truly biodegradable plastics.” Based on the above, EUBP called “on the European Commission to suspend the production, sale and use of oxo-degradable plastics in Europe until appropriate standards, standardized regulation of nomenclature, and suitable certification schemes are available.”

Concerns about the potential environmental harm of oxo-degradable plastics have been voiced previously, for example by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) (FPF reported). In 2014, France proposed a ban on oxo-degradable plastics (FPF reported).

Read more

EUBP (April 24, 2017). “New report calls to suspend the use of ‘oxo-degradable’ plastics.

Reference

EC (2016). “The impact of the use of ‘oxo-degradable’ plastic on the environment.” KH-02-16-983-EN-N doi:10.2779/992559

The Pan Pacific Bioplastics Alliance (PPBA) has been formed to work together in identifying collaborative projects in sustainable development that enhance the PPBA leadership position in the global community.

Founding Members of PPBA include the Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA), the Environmentally Biodegradable Polymer Association in Taiwan (EBPA), the Korean Bioplastics Association (KBPA), the Japan BioPlastics Association (JBPA), the Thai Bioplastics Industry Association (TBIA), the Biodegradable Products Institute in the USA (BPI) and the European Bioplastics (EUBP).

From time to time, Associate Members noted as Technical Partners, may be added to the PPBA.

The Australasian Bioplastics Associations President, Mr Rowan Williams, will assume the role of PPBA’s Executive Secretary.

PPBA projects are focused on promoting the continual growth of bioplastics and may include, but are not be limited to the following:

  • Identifying, organising and promoting sustainable development through dissemination of knowledge and information
  • Co-hosting various programs such as lectures, workshops, seminars, forums, conferences, press conferences as well as other activities.

PPBA’s collaborative projects will be aimed at the general public, companies and industries, NGOs, media, government agencies and academic institutions and associations.

Further information on the PPBA and updates on PPBA activities will be communicated to ABA Members and supporters in the future.

During the World Economic Forum earlier this year in Davos, Switzerland, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation released a report on the New Plastics Economy.

The United Kingdom-based NGO, which is dedicated to the promotion of a worldwide circular economy, acknowledges that plastics have been important to global commerce. But in this 120-page report, the Foundation says too much value is lost as massive amounts of plastic, especially what is used for packaging, ends up in landfill.

Why focus on plastic?

As the production and consumption of this material are expected to increase rapidly in the coming years, the results of an unchecked plastics industry could include long-term risks to public health, further destruction of the world’s oceans and a loss of economic productivity.

Click here to read more

ABA Members are being offered a 1 year free subscription to bioplastics MAGAZINE. bioplastics MAGAZINE is the only independent bioplastics trade magazine worldwide. Published biomonthly, bioplastics MAGAZINE provides the latest and most comprehensive news on the global bioplastics industry and is a great source for anyone working in bioplastics, packaging, manufacturing or interested in the latest trends in bioplastics.

For ABA Members to receive a 1 year free subscriptions they just need to subscribe online at http://bioplasticsmagazine.com/en/kontakt/subscription.php

Just enter “ABA” in the promotion code field.

The subscription will be free for the first 6 issues (=1 year). A renewal invoice will be sent after a year and ABA Members can opt to continue to receive the magazine or choose to cancel.

Further Bonus – 10% discount on Events

ABA Members also receive a 10% discount at bioplastics MAGAZINE events.

Just enter “ABA” in the promotion code field at  http://bioplasticsmagazine.com/en/kontakt/b3_registration.php (for the upcoming Bioplastics Business breakfast at K’2016 Düsseldorf/Germany) and you will receive a 10% discount.

Bioplastics Simplified

BIOPLASTICS SIMPLIFIED: ATTRIBUTES OF BIOBASED AND BIODEGRADABLE PLASTICS

Bioplastics Simplified published by SPI the US plastics industry trade association is a useful and informative document for anyone interested in keeping up to date the with the latest developments in the bioplastics industry.

Download or read here