Most of us know by now that we should avoid using plastic bags. Whether we’ve been working in business, the commercial contract cleaning industry or doing our bit at home, many of us have tried to reduce our plastic use. There is so much information out there that grabbing the nearest “green”, “degradable” or “biodegradable” product may not be as simple as it sounds to choose the right choice for the environment. In this article, we aim to remove the confusing jargon so you know what to look for when buying bin liners and why compostable bin liners are the better choice.
Packaging can be fantastic these days. All that ‘organic- looking’ brown paper, pictures of trees and bunny rabbits – not to mention feel-good buzzwords – sure make it sound like you’re doing the right thing. But terms like “degradable” can be deceptive as everything is degradable over time. And claims don’t mean a thing unless they are proven by performance standard like Australian Standard AES 4736. But more on that later.
Biodegradable plastics will become small pieces of plastic, which continue to contaminate and harm the environment as ‘microplastics’.
First, let’s get to know some basic terms.
Know These Terms:
- BIODEGRADABLE: Will biodegrade, but not as quickly as compostable plastic, generally speaking. Look for a statement that claims they are 100% biodegradable and shows the disposal method. Some “biodegradable” bags simply contain additives that break them down into smaller plastics, which can still be toxic for the environment and end up in the food chain.
- COMPOSTABLE: Will biodegrade in a commercial compost facility and do not leave microplastics or toxic residues behind. Look for Australian standard number (AES 4736 – 2006) on the label.
- DEGRADABLE: Neither compostable nor biodegradable. Not completely dissolved in nature. Will contaminate the environment with microplastics that can end up in the food chain. The correct term for these products is oxo-degradable plastic.
- PLASTIC: Cannot dissolve in nature. Contaminates environment with microplastics that can end in the food chain. The most common plastic is PE (polyethylene or polythene).
Bin liners – understanding compostability
‘Compostable’ is an important term here. Rather than just breaking down into smaller particles, compostable bags do not leave toxic residues or microplastics behind. Compostable bags are made of plant starch, e.g. cornstarch and break down readily (with water and carbon dioxide) in a composting system through microbial activity to form compost. According to CSIRO environmental chemist Dr Mike Williams, this “could be used to improve soils for more efficient and sustainable production of crops, such as corn”.
The ecosystem of how microplastics (from biodegradable/ degradable & plastic products) can effect you.
To avoid tripping up with any fancy marketing schpeel, look for the Australian standard for compostability symbol. Our Enviroplus Eco-Friendly Compostable Bin Liners carry both the AS 5810 Home Compostable and AS4736 Compostable Logo.
Joining the global imperative to strive for a better environment, ABCO has released a new range of eco-friendly bin liners. 100% compostable and entirely nonplastic, the Enviroplus Eco-Friendly Compostable Bin Liners are the perfect solution for reducing environmental impact. They are ideal for either home use or commercial use in schools, aged cares, kitchens, offices and washrooms.
Here are some of the benefits:
- Breathable and leakproof for controlling moisture and odour
- Made from GMO-free natural corn starch
- Ink made from raw materials which will break down and not harm the environment in the process
- Reduced landfill waste and carbon emissions
These eco-friendly renewable bin liners are available in 30 L, 80 L, 120 L and 240 L bags.
Added business benefits
Doing the right thing for the environment is the aim of the game. But purchasing eco-friendly bags has other significant benefits for your business:
Brand image – Whether you’re a shop, restaurant, school, aged care facility, sports stadium, gym owner or work in a large office, let customers and staff see that you care about the environment by choosing the right products for waste management. You can even advertise the fact that your facility operates with environmentally-conscious practices.
Save money – If possible, start a commercial organics recycling program. Having a recycling program is not only great for your brand but could reduce your monthly waste management costs.
While we’re on a roll, here are a couple of tricky terms to look out for.
- Bio- or plant-based: Although it sounds lovely, it merely means the plastic is made from plant materials and not fossil fuels. It does not mean it is compostable or biodegradable.
- Bioplastic: This is extra tricky as it has two meanings in the industry. It could be fine – and mean that it is compostable or biodegradable. But it could mean that it is made from plant material. (See above) It’s best not to rely on this term alone.
- Degradable: Yes, we’ve mentioned this above. But it deserves a place in this list as it sounds promising, yet is neither compostable nor biodegradable.
Caring for our environment is now imperative. So why not lower your carbon footprint and help reduce landfill waste by replacing your plastic bags with our Enviroplus compostable bin liners.
Abco Products – your local supplier of commercial cleaning supplies in Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Sydney – we have been providing contract cleaners and facility manager with environmentally sustainable cleaning products, powerful industrial cleaning supplies and commercial cleaning equipment for over 20 years. For information about our commercial cleaning consumables or machinery, please call us on 1800 177 399 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
- CSIRO Australia: “Biodegradable Versus Compostable – Knowing Your Eco-Plastics” https://ecos.csiro.au/biodegradable-versus-compostable-knowing-your-eco-plastics/
- OMNEXUS: polyethylene (PE) https://omnexus.specialchem.com/selection-guide/polyethylene-plastic
- BIOPLASTICS: Industrial compostable verification logo https://bioplastics.org.au/certification/the-seedling-logo/
- BIOPLASTICS: Home compostable verification logo https://bioplastics.org.au/certification/home-compostable-verification-programme/