The Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) welcomes and applauds the announcement from Federal Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg that by 2025, 100 per cent of Australian packaging to be recyclable, compostable or reusable.
Minister Frydenberg has been pushing the plan to ensure packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable, which would eliminate much of household rubbish. Commonwealth, state and territory environment ministers have agreed to cut Australia’s supply of waste, increase our recycling capability and increase the demand for recyclable products in response to China’s new restrictions on recyclable waste.
Josh Frydenberg stated, “The solution is to work cooperatively with the states to create new opportunities for Australia to build its domestic capacity to recycle more material; to get governments to procure more recyclable material; to turn more waste into energy; and to look at ensuring that all packaging is reusable or recyclable by 2025.”
Ministers have also brought forward the review of Australia’s National Waste Policy to be completed within a year. This will ensure that governments are taking the most appropriate and timely actions to support a sustainable recycling industry. Australia has an opportunity to develop its capabilities and capacity in recycling through effective cooperation and collaboration among the three levels of government.
As the leading industry body for Australian and New Zealand manufacturers, converters and distributors of bioplastic products and materials, the Australasian Bioplastics Association administrators a voluntary verification scheme for compostable bioplastics certification.
Robin Tuckerman, Australasian Bioplastics Association representative states, “The Australasian Bioplastics Association welcomes the announcement by Minister Frydenberg and the recognition that certified compostable bioplastics have a fundamental game changing role in reducing waste going to landfill. Many of our members are leaders in bioplastics, are dedicated to a circular economy and have been developing certified compostable alternatives to conventional plastics for decades.”
Australasian Bioplastics Association members are already a major contributor to local councils FOGO (Food Organics Garden Organics) waste diversion programs. Recognising that diverting FOGO from landfill has environmental and commercial benefits, many Australian and New Zealand councils have implemented FOGO diversion programs where FOGO is collected in certified compostable bags and sent to commercial composting facility.
Certified compostable bioplastics are made from bio-based material and compost in either industrial compost facilities if certified to Australian Standards 4736-2006 for Industrial Composting or if certified to Australian Standards 5810-2006 for Home Composting. Certification provides compost facilities confidence that compostable bags do not cause contamination. The Australasian Bioplastics Association’s programs are supported by AORA (Australian Organics Recycling Association).
For almost every conventional plastic material and application, there is a bioplastic alternative available on the market that has the same properties and offers additional advantages. With Australia’s largest supermarkets taking robust action to phase out single-use plastic bags and states heading to bans on plastic bags used by retail outlets including reducing plastic wrapping on fruit and vegies, certified compostable bags offer a real alternative. Certified compostable labelling assists consumers, recyclers, composters and councils to clearly identify these products and ensure correct waste separation, collection and recovery.
Rivka Garson, Australasian Bioplastics Association committee member states, “Made from bio- based resins, that compost in industrial facilities within 12 weeks and therefore having a real impact on plastic waste reduction; certified compostable film can be used for an endless list of items including external packaging, produce bags, dog poo bags, agricultural films and many more items. Going forward, the Australasian Bioplastics Association is looking forward to having a very positive effect on Australian waste reduction.”
The 2025, 100 per cent target will be delivered by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation, working with its 950 member companies and partners, including the Australasian Bioplastics Association.