Degradable plastics in Australia
The Australian Government is working with industry, government and the community to reduce the environmental impact of plastic. Currently our main activities include:
- Support for voluntary industry-led product stewardship initiatives to encourage responsibility among importers, plastic resin producers, manufacturers, users and retailers of degradable plastic products.
- Developing Australian Standards to achieve consensus on common definitions of degradability for plastics. This will ultimately help protect consumers, competitors and the environment from products that don't degrade as expected.
- Raising community awareness through publications, workshops, presentations, and this website.
- Biodegradable plastics: developments and environmental impacts - October 2002
- Impacts of degradable plastic bags in Australia - April 2004
- End-of-life environmental issues with PVC in Australia - June 2003
The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts would particularly like to recognise the support for this work program provided through our partnership with the Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association and the technical expertise provided by the School of Engineering and Science at Swinburne University of Technology.
Standards Australia has made a significant progress on the development of biodegradable plastics. However, there is a need to obtain necessary data on oxo-degradable plastics products to support claims of degradability in the real world.
To assist this process, the Department conducted a survey on oxo-degradable plastics products inviting interested parties, manufacturers and importers of oxo-degradable plastics products to complete this Questionnaire on Oxo-biodegradable Plastics Products (Word - 48 KB)
By developing a common understanding of the differing viewpoints that exist, we can more effectively work together to achieve environmental outcomes related to the degradable plastics debate - such as improving resource efficiency, reducing litter and achieving more sustainable consumption patterns.