A number of different types of plastics are available to be purchased, however not all are as environmentally friendly as others.
Compostable plastic is made from organic matter, such as a natural plant starch. To break down, they require specific conditions, such as oxygen and microbes to break down the materials to a nutrient-rich compost. This form of ‘plastic’ does not produce any toxic material.
To ensure plastics meet the Australian compostable standard, look for two labels.
1. Home Compostable AS 5810 (ABAX 9999) - item can be placed in home compost bin
2. Compostable AS 4736 (ABAX 9999) - item cannot be placed in home compost bin, only industrial composting
Biodegradable plastic, is a type of plastic made from oil and chemicals. ‘Biodegradable’ does not mean it is compostable, but refers to the material’s ability to decompose or break down by living organisms. Biodegradable labelling does not provide a timeline or conditions for decomposition and products will often break down into micro-plastics. This type of plastic cannot be composted and should be disposed of in the general waste bin (red lid).