News

Ban the bag: Australian states and territories are quitting single-use plastic bags

South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory have already introduced bans on plastic bags. Victoria, Western Australia, and Queensland have also committed to banning plastic bags by 2018.  New South Wales has not yet indicated that a ban will be introduced.

Download the Ban The Bag infographic.
 

South Australia

A pioneering state when it comes to the environment, South Australia was the first state to introduce plastic bag bans back in 2009.

Allowed: Compostable bags, along with green bags, heavy retail bags, barrier bags, and paper bags, are not included in the ban.

Read more about the SA bag ban.

Tasmania

In 2013, the Tasmanian government introduced legislation banning retailers from providing shoppers with lightweight, single-use plastic bags. Under the legislation, the supply of other plastic bags is not restricted.

Allowed: Compostable bags certified to Australian Standard AS4736, resealable zipper storage bags, heavier plastic bags (above 35 microns), lightweight meat, fruit and vegetable 'barrier' bags, paper bags. and plastic bags that are an integral part of the packaging.

Read more about the TAS bag ban
 

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory ban on single-use plastic bags came into effect on 1 September 2011 after a four-month phase-out.

Allowed: Compostable bags, green bags, heavy retail bags, barrier bags, and paper bags, are not included in the ban.

Read more about the NT bag ban.

Australian Capital Territory

The Australian Capital Territory banned plastic bags on 1 November 2011. The ban applies to all retailers in the ACT for single-use, lightweight polyethylene polymer plastic bags that are less than 35 microns in thickness and degradable bags made from plastic.

Allowed: Compostable bags certified to Australian Standard AS4736 and paper bags

Read more about the ACT bag ban.
 

Queensland

The Queensland Government has passed the Waste Reduction and Recycling Amendment Bill 2017 which will forbid retailers from providing or selling all lightweight plastic bags (known as single-use singlet bags) from 1 July 2018. Unlike other states, in Queensland, the ban also includes all plastic bags less than 35 microns in thickness including compostable bags.

Allowed: Paper bags

Read more about the QLD bag ban.
 

Western Australia

Effective July 1, 2018, the Western Australian government has banned all lightweight single-use plastic bags (including compostable bioplastic bags) statewide, bringing the state in line with South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory, and the Australian Capital Territory which already has plastic bag bans in place. 

Allowed: Paper bags

Read more about the WA bag ban.

Victoria

While there’s no legislative ban in place yet, the Victorian government has pledged to ban single-use plastic bags across the state by the end of 2019. Being a late entry to the ‘ban the bag’ movement, Victoria is drawing on experience in other jurisdictions, which shows that banning lightweight plastics ban can lead to undesirable results, including increased use of heavier duty plastics, which can have an even more significant environmental impact. All single-use, lightweight plastic bags are banned, including compostable bioplastic bags.

Allowed: Barrier bags for fruits, vegetables, meat and fish, garbage bags, bin liners, animal waste bags, woven polypropylene bags, hessian (jute) bags

Read more about the VIC bag ban.


Reusables only provide a benefit if they are reused

Research by the Canberra government has shown charging for bags reduces use by 80 percent and bag bans lessen the amount of plastic bags in landfill by up to 36 percent (including single-use plastic bags, reusable plastic bags, bin liners and a proportion of reusable woven bags).

However, few reusable bags are used long enough to reach resource-expenditure parity with the
lightweight bags they were meant to supplant. Based on comparative carbon emissions of a plastic singlet bag, reusable bags made from recycled polypropylene plastic used five times as much plastic, and require 26 uses.

What this means for compostable bioplastic bags

In Queensland and Western Australia, retailers are banned from providing shoppers with all lightweight, single-use plastic bags including compostable bags. While we can all agree that there is a need to reduce single-use plastics, there are some instances where it is unavoidable. For example, compostable lightweight, single-use bags can be useful for collecting organic waste – like home compost or food scraps – as these bags will decompose in a home composting system returning nutrients to the soil in the process.

According to Warwick Hall, Vice President of the Australian BioPlastics Association (ABA) ‘with some justification, it can be argued that an organically recyclable/compostable bag, such as those that meet the requirements of AS4736 or AS5810 presents much less of a potential hazard than a polyethylene bag because the compostable bag can be reused for the collection and disposal of organic waste to industrial or home composting or other organic recycling, which is much needed because organic waste is a large component of waste going to landfill’.

What next?

In many instances, lightweight single-use bags are still required for hygienic reasons. Our bioplastic bags provide an eco-friendly alternative, made using Ecopond, a starch-based bioplastic that is certified compostable to Australian (AS4736) compost standards, and are home compostable.

Browse our range of bioplastic bags.

Download our Ban the Bag infographic.

Read more

South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory have already introduced bans on plastic bags. Victoria, Western Australia, and Queensland have also committed to banning plastic bags by 2018.  New South Wales has not yet indicated that a ban will be introduced.

Download the Ban The Bag infographic.
 

South Australia

A pioneering state when it comes to the environment, South Australia was the first state to introduce plastic bag bans back in 2009.

Allowed: Compostable bags, along with green bags, heavy retail bags, barrier bags, and paper bags, are not included in the ban.

Read more about the SA bag ban.

Tasmania

In 2013, the Tasmanian government introduced legislation banning retailers from providing shoppers with lightweight, single-use plastic bags. Under the legislation, the supply of other plastic bags is not restricted.

Allowed: Compostable bags certified to Australian Standard AS4736, resealable zipper storage bags, heavier plastic bags (above 35 microns), lightweight meat, fruit and vegetable 'barrier' bags, paper bags. and plastic bags that are an integral part of the packaging.

Read more about the TAS bag ban
 

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory ban on single-use plastic bags came into effect on 1 September 2011 after a four-month phase-out.

Allowed: Compostable bags, green bags, heavy retail bags, barrier bags, and paper bags, are not included in the ban.

Read more about the NT bag ban.

Australian Capital Territory

The Australian Capital Territory banned plastic bags on 1 November 2011. The ban applies to all retailers in the ACT for single-use, lightweight polyethylene polymer plastic bags that are less than 35 microns in thickness and degradable bags made from plastic.

Allowed: Compostable bags certified to Australian Standard AS4736 and paper bags

Read more about the ACT bag ban.
 

Queensland

The Queensland Government has passed the Waste Reduction and Recycling Amendment Bill 2017 which will forbid retailers from providing or selling all lightweight plastic bags (known as single-use singlet bags) from 1 July 2018. Unlike other states, in Queensland, the ban also includes all plastic bags less than 35 microns in thickness including compostable bags.

Allowed: Paper bags

Read more about the QLD bag ban.
 

Western Australia

Effective July 1, 2018, the Western Australian government has banned all lightweight single-use plastic bags (including compostable bioplastic bags) statewide, bringing the state in line with South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory, and the Australian Capital Territory which already has plastic bag bans in place. 

Allowed: Paper bags

Read more about the WA bag ban.

Victoria

While there’s no legislative ban in place yet, the Victorian government has pledged to ban single-use plastic bags across the state by the end of 2019. Being a late entry to the ‘ban the bag’ movement, Victoria is drawing on experience in other jurisdictions, which shows that banning lightweight plastics ban can lead to undesirable results, including increased use of heavier duty plastics, which can have an even more significant environmental impact. All single-use, lightweight plastic bags are banned, including compostable bioplastic bags.

Allowed: Barrier bags for fruits, vegetables, meat and fish, garbage bags, bin liners, animal waste bags, woven polypropylene bags, hessian (jute) bags

Read more about the VIC bag ban.


Reusables only provide a benefit if they are reused

Research by the Canberra government has shown charging for bags reduces use by 80 percent and bag bans lessen the amount of plastic bags in landfill by up to 36 percent (including single-use plastic bags, reusable plastic bags, bin liners and a proportion of reusable woven bags).

However, few reusable bags are used long enough to reach resource-expenditure parity with the
lightweight bags they were meant to supplant. Based on comparative carbon emissions of a plastic singlet bag, reusable bags made from recycled polypropylene plastic used five times as much plastic, and require 26 uses.

What this means for compostable bioplastic bags

In Queensland and Western Australia, retailers are banned from providing shoppers with all lightweight, single-use plastic bags including compostable bags. While we can all agree that there is a need to reduce single-use plastics, there are some instances where it is unavoidable. For example, compostable lightweight, single-use bags can be useful for collecting organic waste – like home compost or food scraps – as these bags will decompose in a home composting system returning nutrients to the soil in the process.

According to Warwick Hall, Vice President of the Australian BioPlastics Association (ABA) ‘with some justification, it can be argued that an organically recyclable/compostable bag, such as those that meet the requirements of AS4736 or AS5810 presents much less of a potential hazard than a polyethylene bag because the compostable bag can be reused for the collection and disposal of organic waste to industrial or home composting or other organic recycling, which is much needed because organic waste is a large component of waste going to landfill’.

What next?

In many instances, lightweight single-use bags are still required for hygienic reasons. Our bioplastic bags provide an eco-friendly alternative, made using Ecopond, a starch-based bioplastic that is certified compostable to Australian (AS4736) compost standards, and are home compostable.

Browse our range of bioplastic bags.

Download our Ban the Bag infographic.

Read more


Plastic Free Straws

BioPak offers a more sustainable alternative – compostable paper straws made from FSC® certified paper sourced from managed plantations. Plus, they’re carbon neutral and can be customised with branding or personalised designs.

The problem with plastic straws

1. A drain on finite resources

Conventional plastic straws are manufactured from polypropylene, a by-product of petroleum which requires a large amount of energy and natural resources to extract and refine. The demand for single-use food serviceware disposables – like straws – is expected to continue rising with the consumer desire for convenience.
 
But producing more plastic straws to keep up with demand means that we need oil and gas resources are required resulting in the depletion of finite resources and the creation of carbon emissions at every stage of production.
 

2. In the trash after only minutes of use

After their useful life of only a few minutes, plastic straws are thrown away. At best, they end up in recycling but difficult to pick out in the sorting process. This means they are rarely recovered and often ending up in already-crowded landfills.
 

3. Hundreds of years to decompose

When they’re disposed of, it’s believed straws take 500 years to decompose. And, if they end up in our waterways and oceans plastic straws never decompose. Instead, they break down into tiny fragments known as microplastics which are ingested by marine life and make their way up the food chain (fish eats plastic, human eats fish).
 

A more sustainable alternative

In 2018, BioPak launched a range of carbon neutral plastic-free straws made from FSC® certified paper. FSC® forest management certification confirms that the forest is being managed in a way that preserves the natural ecosystem and benefits the lives of local people and workers, all while ensuring it remains economically viable.
 
The straws are recyclable and compostable and come in regular, cocktail, and jumbo sizes with a wide range of designs – including Art Series designs. Plus, they can be customised with branding or unique personalised designs.

Read more

BioPak offers a more sustainable alternative – compostable paper straws made from FSC® certified paper sourced from managed plantations. Plus, they’re carbon neutral and can be customised with branding or personalised designs.

The problem with plastic straws

1. A drain on finite resources

Conventional plastic straws are manufactured from polypropylene, a by-product of petroleum which requires a large amount of energy and natural resources to extract and refine. The demand for single-use food serviceware disposables – like straws – is expected to continue rising with the consumer desire for convenience.
 
But producing more plastic straws to keep up with demand means that we need oil and gas resources are required resulting in the depletion of finite resources and the creation of carbon emissions at every stage of production.
 

2. In the trash after only minutes of use

After their useful life of only a few minutes, plastic straws are thrown away. At best, they end up in recycling but difficult to pick out in the sorting process. This means they are rarely recovered and often ending up in already-crowded landfills.
 

3. Hundreds of years to decompose

When they’re disposed of, it’s believed straws take 500 years to decompose. And, if they end up in our waterways and oceans plastic straws never decompose. Instead, they break down into tiny fragments known as microplastics which are ingested by marine life and make their way up the food chain (fish eats plastic, human eats fish).
 

A more sustainable alternative

In 2018, BioPak launched a range of carbon neutral plastic-free straws made from FSC® certified paper. FSC® forest management certification confirms that the forest is being managed in a way that preserves the natural ecosystem and benefits the lives of local people and workers, all while ensuring it remains economically viable.
 
The straws are recyclable and compostable and come in regular, cocktail, and jumbo sizes with a wide range of designs – including Art Series designs. Plus, they can be customised with branding or unique personalised designs.

Read more


5 Steps to a More Sustainable 2020

As individuals, we can seek ways to lower our carbon footprint and reduce negative impacts on the environment and as members of the business community we can make choices that improve the system more broadly.
 
Here are five ways you can make a positive difference in 2020. We’re talking: helping fight climate change, reducing plastic consumption, cutting waste to landfill, lowering your environmental footprint and giving back to the community.
 

1. Choose renewable

Conventional plastic packaging is derived from finite fossil resources. When this material is used in foodservice packaging it has a useful lifespan of minutes before disposal and then proceeds to take hundreds of years to breakdown – often into microplastics which is problematic itself.
 
Say ‘no’ to plastic* packaging and choose packaging made from plants instead. Our plant-based packaging is made from bagasse, trees, or bioplastic materials which are rapidly renewable, responsibly sourced and have a lower carbon footprint than their conventional plastic alternative.
 

2. Go carbon neutral

 
Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) have increased by almost 50 per cent since 1990. While driving less or taking public transport makes a difference, it’s important to remember every single product has an associated carbon footprint which, in turn, contributes to the carbon footprint of the individual or business using the product.
 
Purchasing from certified carbon neutral businesses or opting for carbon neutral products is an easy way to reduce your own carbon footprint. Our packaging is certified carbon neutral which means we have purchased carbon credits to offset the carbon produce in the production and disposal of our packaging. It’s one simple way you can help take climate action.
 

3. Start composting

Did you know that food residue makes recycling unviable for used plastic takeaways? Or that food waste is the third largest contributor to climate change? The good news: food residue on packaging is not a problem for composting. And kerbside organic waste collection is becoming more widely available.
 
Collecting organic waste and compostable packaging for composting means you’ll reduce waste to landfill which, in turn, reduces your carbon footprint as the creation of methane and leachate are avoided when organics are diverted from landfill to compost. Plus, you’ll be creating nutrient-rich compost that can help regenerate soil and improve water retention.
 
 

4. Choose 'profit for purpose' companies

 
Whenever we purchase something, we cast a vote with our dollars for the kind of future we want. Being a purpose-driven business has redefined how we measure success – it’s no longer just about the bottom line, it’s about the positive change we’re affecting for our planet and communities. Doing well by doing good.
 
BioPak is a certified B Corp and donates 7.5% of all profits to environmental restoration initiatives and community programs through its charity partners. We are committed to driving positive change and giving back. As a socially and environmentally responsible business and a member of the Ellen McArthur Foundation, we have an obligation to preserve and protect the environment and to give back and support the communities in which we operate.
 

5. Avoid greenwashing

When it comes to ‘sustainable’ products, you hear a lot of buzzwords thrown around. Think: ‘biodegradable’, ‘dissolving’, ‘eco-friendly’ – the list goes on. While these words can actually mean something, without certification this is called ‘greenwashing’.
 
Certifications demonstrate a company's commitment to quality, safety and sustainability. It affirms that a company's claims regarding the products, processes and social impacts have passed specific performance, sustainability and quality assurance tests.  Where claims to environmental impact are backed up by regulated, robust standards it can help consumers and business owners alike to shop (and sell) responsibly.

Read more

As individuals, we can seek ways to lower our carbon footprint and reduce negative impacts on the environment and as members of the business community we can make choices that improve the system more broadly.
 
Here are five ways you can make a positive difference in 2020. We’re talking: helping fight climate change, reducing plastic consumption, cutting waste to landfill, lowering your environmental footprint and giving back to the community.
 

1. Choose renewable

Conventional plastic packaging is derived from finite fossil resources. When this material is used in foodservice packaging it has a useful lifespan of minutes before disposal and then proceeds to take hundreds of years to breakdown – often into microplastics which is problematic itself.
 
Say ‘no’ to plastic* packaging and choose packaging made from plants instead. Our plant-based packaging is made from bagasse, trees, or bioplastic materials which are rapidly renewable, responsibly sourced and have a lower carbon footprint than their conventional plastic alternative.
 

2. Go carbon neutral

 
Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) have increased by almost 50 per cent since 1990. While driving less or taking public transport makes a difference, it’s important to remember every single product has an associated carbon footprint which, in turn, contributes to the carbon footprint of the individual or business using the product.
 
Purchasing from certified carbon neutral businesses or opting for carbon neutral products is an easy way to reduce your own carbon footprint. Our packaging is certified carbon neutral which means we have purchased carbon credits to offset the carbon produce in the production and disposal of our packaging. It’s one simple way you can help take climate action.
 

3. Start composting

Did you know that food residue makes recycling unviable for used plastic takeaways? Or that food waste is the third largest contributor to climate change? The good news: food residue on packaging is not a problem for composting. And kerbside organic waste collection is becoming more widely available.
 
Collecting organic waste and compostable packaging for composting means you’ll reduce waste to landfill which, in turn, reduces your carbon footprint as the creation of methane and leachate are avoided when organics are diverted from landfill to compost. Plus, you’ll be creating nutrient-rich compost that can help regenerate soil and improve water retention.
 
 

4. Choose 'profit for purpose' companies

 
Whenever we purchase something, we cast a vote with our dollars for the kind of future we want. Being a purpose-driven business has redefined how we measure success – it’s no longer just about the bottom line, it’s about the positive change we’re affecting for our planet and communities. Doing well by doing good.
 
BioPak is a certified B Corp and donates 7.5% of all profits to environmental restoration initiatives and community programs through its charity partners. We are committed to driving positive change and giving back. As a socially and environmentally responsible business and a member of the Ellen McArthur Foundation, we have an obligation to preserve and protect the environment and to give back and support the communities in which we operate.
 

5. Avoid greenwashing

When it comes to ‘sustainable’ products, you hear a lot of buzzwords thrown around. Think: ‘biodegradable’, ‘dissolving’, ‘eco-friendly’ – the list goes on. While these words can actually mean something, without certification this is called ‘greenwashing’.
 
Certifications demonstrate a company's commitment to quality, safety and sustainability. It affirms that a company's claims regarding the products, processes and social impacts have passed specific performance, sustainability and quality assurance tests.  Where claims to environmental impact are backed up by regulated, robust standards it can help consumers and business owners alike to shop (and sell) responsibly.

Read more