Commercial Bins: Can We Remove Plastic Bags From Our Waste
Commercial Bins: one of the most common queries we hear from commercial bins customers is where should we dispose of plastic bags – i.e. can they be recycled or do they have to go into general waste. There have been great developments in recent years – with innovations such as recycling plastic bags at Coles through REDcycle. Through this system – plastic bags are prevented from entering landfill and are recycled into plastic street furniture.
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Commercial bins – can we remove plastic bags from our bins?
An interesting article on Choice.com.au summaries well the impact of plastic bags etc. We quote from the article below:
“Australians send more than a million tonnes of plastic waste to landfill every year, where it will sit for generations as it ever-so-slowly breaks down.”
“In an effort to tackle the growing waste problem, some plastic products are now being made so they break down more readily.”
The article notes that to date – people have focused most attention on shopping bags from supermarkets (estimated that Australian uses an incredible 4 billion per year. Note: some countries like Ireland have put a tax on bag usage and this has dramatically reduced the numbers.
The next big step is making bags and packaging from bio-degradable materials.
“In Australia, the term biodegradable usually refers to plastics that are ‘compostable’, meaning they will break down when placed in a home compost bin or commercial composting facility. When disposed of correctly, a compostable plastic will almost completely biodegrade within six months – a big improvement on the 100-plus years it would take for something like a normal plastic bag to break down in landfill.”
Of course things are never as simple as you would hope:
“If the plastic is labelled ‘home compostable’, then it can go in your home compost bin. But the majority of products currently available are labelled ‘compostable’, meaning they need to go to a commercial composting facility, where they get treated with high temperatures to create an organic-rich soil that can be on-sold.”
We have covered the impact that plastic has in the ocean and seas in our blog in national resource recovery.
The article also gives a handy listing:
“Look for these terms:
- Biodegradable will biodegrade, but generally not as quickly as compostable plastic. Look for products that state they are 100% biodegradable and show the disposal method.
- Compostable will biodegrade in a commercial compost facility. Look for the Australian Standard number (AS 4736-2006) on the label.
- Home compostable is the best option if you have a home compost bin. Look for the Australian Standard number (AS 5810-2010) on the label.”
See blog on new ABC TV services War on Waste – rubbish removals.
Author: Mr Waster