When is a dirt bag a ‘real’ dirt bag?
As in any industry, as the demand for a product grows, pretenders appear. In Malaysia, where bioplastic bags are mandatory, customs officials are trained in how to detect real bioplastics by doing a bit of “scratch ‘n’ sniff”. In a recent BioPlastics News article, one of their Government ministers explains; “The 100% biodegradable plastic bags have a silky feel and sweet smell”. If you have purchased or received products from our comPOST range you will know exactly what he means – especially when they are fresh out of their own packaging. Sometimes our office smells like a golden syrup factory!
We are super-excited to see more and more compostable products enter the market, but we fear that mislabelling and misinformation might damage the reputation of the whole movement, including those of us trying to do things the right way. No-one wants to dig up a courier bag from their compost in a couple of year’s time to find it intact or even worse, find the compost contaminated with small pieces of plastic strewn throughout … that would be real nasty (yes, we’re talking about you oxo-degradable plastic)!
The AS 5810 symbol (left) is the single most important thing about our comPOST Packs as it means that they are Certified Home Compostable. This certification is only bestowed by the Australian Bioplastics Association after they pass stringent tests, tests which are the most rigorous in the world, not least because they are the only ones to ensure that the materials are not toxic to worms.
The ‘OK HOME Compost’ certification (right), which our packs also achieve, is the European standard, but it is important to note that if you see an OK compost symbol without HOME as part of the symbol next to it like this, that means that the product is compostable in an industrial composting facility (ie. at controlled high temperatures and high moisture levels) and does NOT imply in any way that the products will decompose sufficiently in a home compost environment.
Similarly, the Australian Industrial Compostable symbol, also known as the Seedling logo (left), indicates industrial compostability only.
Hope that clears a few things up! If in doubt, refer to the table above when you’re trying to decide how to best dispose of an item at end of life and if you can’t see any of these symbols accompanied by certification numbers, then take even more care.