BioBag diverts plastic from landfills and oceans

 In Reduce plastic pollution

The sole aim of using compostable BioBags is to completely reduce the use of plastic. Diverting plastic from landfill and the marine environment is BioBag’s number one goal.

In an unbiased review, CHOICE said: “Compostable plastics are the best choice. The idea behind compostable plastic is to divert the plastic from landfill altogether.”

“Degradable plastics can help reduce the amount of plastic litter that we see, but the plastic is still there, just in smaller pieces. And smaller pieces of plastic litter can actually be hazardous to more wildlife.”

Be careful of bags labelled landfill biodegradable and degradable – if it’s not certified compostable it will not be eaten by micro-organisms.

10 Reasons why BioBags are better for the environment than plastic bags:

  1. Comply with the Australian Standard AS4736 for compostability.
  2. Are made from bio-based materials: a variety of compostable polymers.
  3. Leave no toxic residues or micro-plastics behind.
  4. Break down into: biomass (organic matter), water and carbon dioxide.
  5. Break down anywhere microorganisms exist, including on land and in water.
  6. Break down at normal temperatures.
  7. If littered the material will break down and will leave no microplastics behind. How fast depends on the environment it ends up in. Traditional plastic bags will break down over hundreds of years into microplastics.
  8. Composting worms love to eat them.
  9. Can be recycled with organic waste in green bins and compost bins.
  10. Have a lower carbon footprint than plastic bags.

How BioBags divert plastic from landfill

No plastic should be disposed of to landfill. It is a waste of a valuable resource.

Conventional plastics should be recycled where possible and compostable plastics should be composted along with organic waste. Oxo-degradable (degradable) bags cannot be recycled with either plastics or organic waste.

In a landfill, ‘degradable’ plastic bags fragment leaving many thousands of small plastic particles which persist in the environment and pollute the soils and waterways.

The single largest component of waste going to landfill in Australia is organic waste. In most parts of Australia, organic waste accounts for up to 50 percent of what goes to landfill. BioBags can be used to collect and distribute organic waste to compost where the bag will biodegrade at the same rate and to the same extent as food waste.

If a BioBag ends up in a landfill, it will break down into organic matter leaving no toxic residues behind. The length of time it takes for the BioBag to break down depends on specific conditions like the temperature and number of micro-organisms present.

How BioBags help protect the marine environment 

A certified compostable bag will start to break down as soon as it comes into contact with micro-organisms, so if it becomes litter today, it has a short time span (a matter of weeks) to reach the marine environment, whereas plastic bags have hundreds of years to reach the marine environment.

If a BioBag reaches the ocean, research shows the compostable film breaks down within a matter of weeks in the water. Research also shows compostable film breaks down in an animal’s intestinal fluid. We are yet to see any data that suggests compostable bags harm marine life. Studies to date verify compostable film does break down in the intestinal fluid of marine animals. Current studies suggest more testing of compostable films is needed and neglect to address how long microorganisms stay active in gastrointestinal fluid and at what temperature. 

The CHOICE review sums this up by saying: “Dr Denise Hardesty, a research scientist with the CSIRO, says small pieces of plastic are having harmful effects on marine animals. Parts of a plastic bottle or plastic bag may be more accessible to larger marine species like turtles and seals, but those same items become accessible to more and more species in the food chain as they break down,” Hardesty explains.”

“Fish, crustaceans and even corals are known to eat small pieces of plastic, mistaking them for food. And as these smaller animals get eaten by larger ones, Hardesty says the plastic accumulates up the food chain, affecting more and more species as it goes.”

BioBag products are made from a compostable resin named Mater-Bi®. Mater-Bi® is produced by Novamont, an Italian research company dedicated to environmental alternatives to polyethylene-based plastics. See the research on marine biodegradation of Mater-Bi® here in this report:

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