COMPOST-A-PAK available – https://www.sourceseparationsystems.com.au/purchase/12
The ACT Government has recently released their Interim Review of the Plastic Shopping Bags Ban, and the results are intriguing.
The Plastic bag ban has certainly changed consumer behaviour with 84% of primary shoppers now taking reusable bags to the supermarket, a significant increase from 44%[i]. Support for the program is also strong with 58% supporting the plastic bag ban, due largely to concerns about the environment, a trend which was even higher in the younger age bracket.
Strong support for environmental strategies is not surprising as community awareness of sustainability issues increase; however the feedback from those less enthusiastic about the band offers some interesting insights.
The research indicated that people who objected to the ban felt it wasn’t effective in reducing the incidence of plastic bags in the waste stream, they felt it was inconvenient, and they objected to having to purchase bin liners to replace the shopping bags they previously used. Supporting this claim, the initial research indicates that additional bin liner sales actually increased by around 31% after the ban. Whilst this is less than half of what was predicted, it is still an area for concern as a proportion of prohibited shopping bags are simply substituted for purchased bin liners in land fill.
Added to this, a recent study by the University of Pennsylvania Law School, concluded that there was a link between plastic bag bans and increases in food-related illnesses and death[ii]. The study concluded that the use of unwashed, re-usage shopping bags as a replacement for plastic bags increased the risk of exposure to dangerous bacteria, and so illness.
The need to provide a solution which meets the requirements for convenience, hygiene and environmental benefits is challenging, however Australian certified compostable bags, such as Compost-A-Pak® may hold the answer.
A small but growing number of Australian local councils are now providing certified compostable Compost-A-Pak bags as part of household food recycling services. These services have proven highly successful, as they provide the convenience of bin liners, which are then either disposed of with food organics in household composters, or once collected, processed within industrial composting facilities.
Katie Burnett from Jeffries, one of Australia’s leading organics processing companies, points to the Compost-A-Pak as a key element in the success of such programs;
“Jeffries endorse Compost-A-Pak liners as they are strong and durable, breakdown easily in our state of the art composting facility and clearly display the seedling logo for AS compostability. We love the bright green colour, not only do they stand out, but they look fantastic! Our aim is to maximise the value of the material we receive for composting, Compost-A-Pak add to this value as a fully compostable product for the end customer to use…”
In such domestic settings, with food scraps up to 40% of household waste, the benefits of such composting programs in terms of reduced greenhouse gas emissions and increased recovery of valuable nutrient for use in farming and agriculture is significant.
As the availability of such collection services and organics processing facilities improve, the potential benefits of certified compostable bags as a real alternative to plastic bags increases. Using Compost-A-Pak® bags, residents retain the benefits of convenience and hygiene provided by a disposable bag, and can continue to reuse the bags as bin liners. Once soiled or after transporting general waste to the outside bins, Compost-A-Pak® liners can be simply disposed of in household composters or collected with green waste to be composted in composting facilities.
Indeed with estimations that Australians only recycling 3% of plastic bags and continue to
dump 429,000 recyclable plastic bags into landfill every hour, better solutions are urgently needed[iii].
*Compost-A-Pak liners can be purchased via the following link, or from leading hardware and garden stores.