The Australian federal government launched a National Plastics Plan on the 4th of March 2021 to address ongoing concerns with plastics and the environment. In the plastic prevention plan they propose the following:
Work with industry to fast-track the phase out of polymer types in certain applications, and consider regulatory action should industry phase outs not be achieved:
- Phase out plastic compostable packaging products with additive fragmentable technology that do not meet relevant compostable standards (AS4736-2006, AS5810-2010 and EN13432) (July 2022)
- Phase out expanded polystyrene (EPS) from loose packaging fill and moulded packaging in consumer packaging (July 2022), and EPS food and beverage containers (December 2022)
- Phase out PVC packaging labels (December 2022)
The Australian government has also stated 4 national packaging targets by 2025 with two of them being:
- 100% of packaging being reusable, recyclable or compostable
- Phase out of problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic
At Weltrade Packaging, we have been working on this for the last 2-3 years.
98.5% of all the packaging we supply is 100% recyclable ready.. NOW.
100% of the packaging we supply is either direct screen printed or has labels that meet the 2022 requirements already.
100% of Biodegradable options are Recyclable, Break Down in landfill, with NO microplastic traces.
100% of our bioplastic solutions are Recyclable and lower the carbon footprint of the product.
100% Recycled plastic can be applied in the majority of our PET jar and bottle lines.
The new National Plastics Plan is addressing the 2.5million tonnes of plastic waste created by Australian’s made up of primarily single use packaging such as water bottles, coffee cups and straws.
Biodegradable v Compostable
The plan and standards also addresses claims made by some that products are compostable, these generally use fragmentable or oxo-degradable processes leaving micro plastics in the ecosystem for hundreds of years. We welcome this initiative!
In our industry a package needs to retain liquid or maintain efficacy with oxygen, this will involve a layer that can not breakdown in compost as compost needs moisture to break down unless it contains one of the methods above.
Our Biodegradable process relies on the internationally recognised biodegradable standard ASTM D5526. We have tested our packaging in independent laboratories in the USA. The results clearly demonstrated that over time the packaging will fully biodegrade in landfill.The testing guidelines measure the gasses not weight loss, the catalyst is the enzymatic breakdown of the polymer through microbial activity that result in anaerobic and aerobic environments. Therefore the packaging is designed to breakdown in standard landfill environments leaving behind only soil and gas and zero micro plastics.
Our material breakdown process is different to the oxo-degradable that has been around for some time. In the Oxo-degradable process, it is more mechanical and that breaks the packaging down into pieces. Anything sustainable for the packaging industry is a good thing. The more government support for more recycling and supporting doing the right thing is what governments should do.