Compostable v biodegradable

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'Compostable' products, e.g. compostable kitchen caddy bags, are made from starch and vegetable oils. They will break down completely in the presence of oxygen and micro-organisms, on land or in water, in a relatively short period of time. No microplastics or residues harmful to plants or animals will be left behind.

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Look for the looped seedling logo or home compostable logo, the international certification symbols that verify a product's claim of compostability according to the Australian Standards.

You cannot put plastic bags or bags labelled 'degradable', 'biodegradable' or 'oxo-degradable' in your organics bin or home compost bin. Plastics labelled 'oxo-degradable' are merely plastics with additives to accelerate their breakdown when exposed to UV radiation or heat.

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To find out what products and bioplastics are certified as compostable, visit the Australian Bioplastics Association. See Who is certified in Aus & NZ.

For more information read the Joint Discussion Paper of AORA and ABA entitled 'Certified Compostable Bioplastics'.