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The problem with Compostable Bags

| Blog

Most compostable bags will end up in landfill, just like plastic bags, due to a lack of facilities to process them.

New Zealand has just 11 facilities that accept compostable packaging.

None of the facilities are big enough to process large quantities, so it is not a good solution to the plastic bag problem.

While it may seem the “environmental” option, it is actually worse that using regular plastic bags which can be RECYCLED.  Compostable bags do NOT breakdown in the oceans.

The best solution for New Zealand is still to RECYCLE.  HDPE and LDPE plastic bags can be recycled presently and turned into useful products.  The best solution is to choose no bag, or a paper bag or to put your plastic bags in the Soft Recycling bins at most supermarkets or here at SHARDLOWS.

Don’t be fooled by the word “Compostable”

Until there is a Commercial Compost Facility in your local area,  think twice about what type of bag you accept.


Different types of Plastic Singlet bags out there in the market;

Degradable: A standard plastic with a chemical added that disintegrates the bag into tiny pieces of plastic

Foodstuff’s verdict: Environmentally damaging as tiny pieces of plastic will remain in environment for a very long time and will be impossible to clean up

Biodegradable: Unregulated and not guaranteed to break down or do so without any residue

Foodstuff’s verdict: Potentially environmentally damaging 

Compostable: There are two types, home compostable and commercially compostable. The majority of rigid bio-plastics are only compostable in a municipal composting environment, where they require moisture and temperatures of 70 deg C minimum to break down.


With all this information – what are you going to choose?