Certification enables consumers to easily identify that a certain product has been independently verified as meeting particular performance requirements, usually through a clearly recognisable logo.
Australian Standards for degradable plastics are currently under development, however unless called up under legislation (such as the Trade Practices Act 1974), these remain voluntary. Certification schemes can be designed to independently verify and alert consumers that a product has met the standards, whether they are voluntary or mandatory.
There are several overseas certification programs for degradable plastics but none in Australia. The need for certification in Australia, including the possible adoption of overseas certification systems is under investigation by the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts in consultation with stakeholders.
In the absence of Australian certification programs, consumers and businesses wishing to invest in degradable plastics are advised to read marketing material with degradable plastics carefully, ask for information to back up any claims that sellers make about their products, and carefully consider products on their merit for the intended use. Proof of their certification by well-recognised overseas certification program may assist you in this decision-making process.
The German, United States and Japanese certification schemes are cooperating to enable international cross-certification of products, so that a product certified in one of these countries would automatically be eligible for certification in another. This would substantially reduce delays and costs for degradable plastics manufacturers and suppliers because the tests required for certification typically take around six months, and can be quite costly.
Some examples of overseas certifications programs and their logos are listed below. Please be aware that Australian Government does not in any way endorse these programs; they are provided for reference only:
|Belgium - AIB-Vinçotte|
|United States - Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI World)|
|Germany - DIN-CERTCO|
|Japan - Biodegradable Plastics Society (BPS) GreenPla Certification Scheme|