Commercially compostable, home compostable, biodegradable, oxo-degradable – the consumer demand for alternatives to plastic packaging and the desire from businesses to lessen their environmental impact has led to a plethora of new packaging choices. But what do these terms mean and where should these items go at their end of life?

To help clear up the confusion a WasteMINZ working group has produced a series of consumer guides which can be downloaded above.

The guides are:

  • “A Quick guide to environmental claims for plastic products and packaging” – which is aimed at consumers who want to know the difference between compostable, biodegradable and degradable plastics.
  • “It’s complicated: A guide to biodegradable & compostable products and packaging” –  which is aimed at manufacturers or retailers who need to understand the environmental claims of products they are being encouraged to purchase.  Environmental educators, sustainability experts council staff and consumers who want more details will also find it useful. 
  • End of life flowchart – which provides a pictorial guide to the different terms and their disposal options. The flowchart can be used on its own or to complement the Quick Guide and It’s Complicated. The End of life flowchart can be downloaded as a jpeg and embedded as an infographic provided that WasteMINZ is credited for the image.
  • Guide to advertising plastic used in compostables final 2020 – which aims to clarify what terms such as plant based, renewable or biobased mean in the context of packaging.