New report on biodegradable and compostable plastics

Issue: Volume 97, Number 14

Posted: 13 August 2018
Reference #: 1H9jvr

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Simon Upton, has published an online resource about biodegradable and compostable plastics. It explains the science of how these plastics break down in the environment, and looks at what they might mean for our composting and recycling efforts.

Public concern about plastic in the environment is increasing around the world, including here in New Zealand.

The level of concern has created a fertile climate for the promotion of plastics that are said to be environmentally friendly. These include biodegradable, degradable or compostable plastics, says the Commissioner.

“There are all sorts of supposedly environmentally friendly plastics coming onto the market, but it is extremely difficult for consumers to make sense of their respective claims.”

The Commissioner says that the impact biodegradable and compostable plastics may have on the environment depends very much on what they are made from and, critically, how and where they are disposed of.

The online resource(external link), with accompanying infographics, is intended to help navigate some of the terms and claims being made. It may provide useful material for educators with an interest in sustainability.


BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 9:00 am, 13 August 2018

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