WasteMINZ Organic Materials Sector Group has a number of projects which are looking into compostable packaging and how it can be processed in New Zealand.
Standards for compostable film
In 2015 a New Zealand standard for compostable film (AS 4736) was agreed upon and any council looking at setting up a kerbside organics collection and permitting compostable bin liners has agreed to use that standard. Learn more here.
Standards for compostable packaging and food service ware.
To date there is no agreed New Zealand standard for compostable packaging and food service ware. In the absence of a New Zealand composting standard there are several overseas standards that are recognised in Aotearoa:
Commercial composting standards and verifying organisations:
Home composting standards and verifying organisations:
To determine if a product genuinely meets a standard you can check the following databases. If the product is certified compostable, it should be listed in the relevant database.
ASTM D 6400 and En13432 https://www.bpiworld.org/CertifiedCompostable
If you have any questions about these standards, please contact [email protected]
The Packaging Forum has established an independent technical working group (Compostable Packaging Standard Adoption Working Group (CPSA-WG)) comprising composters, manufacturers, waste industry, central and local government and research institutions to assess existing international composting standards and determine whether a separate New Zealand standard is necessary.
If you have any questions about this project, please email [email protected]
Paper packaging and products
Generally it is only compostable plastic packaging and products that require certification (including paper based coffee cups or takeaway containers that have a PLA lining). For paper only packaging and products the Australasian Bioplastics Association notes:
Paper, being wood-fibre based is accepted as a natural material and presents no environmental hazard. However, additives and coatings may affect the rate of disintegration and biodegradation or toxicity in the final compost, as can residue from the paper manufacturing process, colorants and printing inks. For this reason, some have applied to have their paper and other natural fibre based products verified to meet the requirements of one of the Australian standards as they believe that having that certification will be a marketing advantage. There is no regulatory or legal obligation to have a product so certified, but if you are challenged to prove claims of compostability or biodegradability, having the certification may be of assistance.
Advertising of compostable products
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment published an online resource in July 2018 on “Biodegradable and compostable plastics in the environment”, as the result of a small enquiry into claims being made about these plastics as “the array of environmental claims being made about plastic packaging might easily lead to misunderstandings.” Click here to view.
In June 2018 WasteMINZ convened an Advertising of Compostable Products Working Group (ACPWG). The ACPWG is made up of council and industry representatives and scientists and aims to:
To date the group has:
If you have any questions about the advertising of compostable products, please email [email protected]