South Australian plastics manufacturer BioBag World Australia will start producing compostable bags as the state closes discussion on eliminating single-use plastics.
In January, South Australian environment minister David Speirs sought feedback on a proposition to ban single-use plastic with the release of discussion paper Turning the Tide on Single-Use Plastic Products.
BioBag director Scott Morton welcomes the environment minister’s bid to ban disposable plastics – in particular, plastic produce rolls offered by retailers as barrier bags for fresh foods.
“Eighty-seven per cent of Australia’s food waste ends up in landfill, where it produces harmful greenhouse gas emissions, when it should be recycled to fertilise Australian soil instead,” Morton said.
“State-wide plastic bag bans don’t achieve much if we continue using thicker, heavy-duty plastic shopping bags and using them to line our bins or buying plastic bin liners.
“All supermarket product bags could be made in Australia from compostable materials. It makes sense to replace single-use plastic produce bags with compostable bags made locally that can be recycled along with food waste.”
Recent research in SA shows that using compostable bags in kitchen caddies significantly increases diversion of food waste from landfill.
“Organic waste contains valuable resources that can’t be recovered from landfill, yet that’s where 87 per cent of Australia’s food waste ends up,” Morton added.
“We need to recycle organic waste to fertilise Australian soil instead of dumping it in landfills where it contributes to climate change by producing harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Only three per cent of plastic bags are being recycled in Australia and the rest are going into landfill, or even worse, entering the environment.
“Dumping 2.5 million tonnes of plastic waste into Australian landfills like we did in 2016-17 doesn’t stop it from impacting the environment and what happens when our land’s full of landfill?
“No plastic should be sent to landfill because it’s a waste of a valuable resource. We need to stop creating waste in the first place and maintain resources at their highest value. That’s why compostable is the only real solution.
“If it ends up in nature, a BioBag will not release microplastics. No other types pf plastic can give that guarantee.”
The Federal and state governments have agreed all Australian packaging should be compostable, recyclable or combustible by 2025.
“South Australia is a national leader in recycling and resource recovery, so it makes sense for us to lead the way and start now,” Morton said.
“We absolutely must reduce the amount of single-use plastic in production and in landfills. If 28 member states in the EU can agree to officially ban single-use plastic items, surely eight Australian states and territories can too.”