The lightweight single-use plastic shopping bag, supplied free-of-charge by a retailer, has been banned in a number of jurisdictions in Australia. The common aim is to reduce plastic litter. Unfortunately, to date, there has been little distinction between a polyethylene bag and an organically recyclable compostable bag.
There is a lack of understanding of the distinction between so called 'degradable plastic bags', which disintegrate under some conditions to many thousands of small fragments (microplastics) that persist in the environment for years and a 'compostable bag' which meets the Australian third party accreditations AS4736 (commerical compostable) or AS5810 (home compostable) – which means the item will break down in a compost environment in a defined time frame to carbon dioxide, water and biomass.
The terms 'biodegradable' and 'compostable' are not equivalent or interchangeable. 'Biodegradable' simply means something will be broken down by microbes over time, which is true for most materials on the planet. An aluminum can is 'biodegradable' if you wait 200 years. Since this term applies to almost everything, it is essentially a meaningless claim and one that has been significantly abused through greenwashing. In contrast, 'compostable' means something will break down in a reasonable amount of time, leave behind no toxic residue, and safely become an additive to soil.
Our products are certified compostable by a independent laboratories. Our bioplastic bag are certificated EN13432 or AS4736 is proof that our products have been tested using specific methodologies and have passed those tests.
With some justification, it can be argued that an organically recyclable / compostable bag, such as those that meet the requirements of AS4736 or AS5810 presents much less of a potential hazard than a polyetyhylene bag because the compostable bag can be reused for the collection and disposal of organic waste to industrial or home composting or other organic recycling, which is much needed because organic waste is a large component of waste going to landfill and by definition, a compostable bag will biodegrade in any environment where there is organic activity such as on the soil or in the sea.