Compostability is a complex subject in the plastics debate. Recognising the difference between ‘certified compostable’ and ‘conventional plastics’ is just the start. It’s also crucial to understand the standards and certifications that apply, as well as potential applications, communication and labelling requirements. 

APCO’s ‘Considerations for Compostable Plastic Packaging’ – (developed in partnership with the Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) and the Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) – is an excellent resource.

It informs brand owners, packaging technologists, designers and food service providers about when and where to use certified compostable plastic packaging as well as helping with understanding the potential applications suited to the current and available infrastructure. 

We’ve pulled out 6 points of interest from the report that are food for thought:
  1. In Australia in 2017/18 compostable plastics accounted for 0.02% or 1,000 tonnes of all packaging placed on the market. Today, it is around 0.1% 
  2. For an item to be called ‘compostable’ it must be certified to the Australian Standard applicable to industrial and commercial composting facilities.
  3. Home composting is subject to a different standard called the Australian Home Composting Standard.
  4. All certified compostable plastics will biodegrade, but not all biodegradable plastics will turn into compost. 
  5. The Australian Industrial Composting Standard tests for earthworm survival to verify absence of toxic residues in organic output.   
  6. The Australian Bioplastics Association publishes all applicants who have conformed to the Australian Industrial Composting Standard.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic or if you’d like to chat about how we might be able to help with your next print or packaging project, please be in touch.

Recommended Posts