Are compostable coffee cups actually any better for the environment? – Australia

Posted on May 26, 2024 by DrRossH in BioPlastics

Sold and marketed as environmentally friendly, compostable food packaging has been exploding in popularity in Australia. But is it any better than the plastic it’s replaced?

Source: Are compostable coffee cups actually any better for the environment? – ABC News

Coffee cups are just one product that can be looked at.

Binliners from compostable materials also have a raft of issues.  To that point that fogo bin bin liners are now being banned too in some places.

Green bin compostable packaging policy, by state and territory

  • NSW: Banned
  • Victoria: Proposed ban
  • South Australia: Accepted
  • Queensland: Not recommended
  • Western Australia: Not recommended
  • Tasmania: Accepted in some councils
  • ACT: Banned

*The Northern Territory does not have any active FOGO facilities


So, should we be using compostable packaging at all?

It depends who you ask.

The head of the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia, which represents all the industries that deal with waste and recycling says compostable packaging could be useful if we had a system set up around it to ensure it is safe and actually ends up in compost.

She says manufacturers should take responsibility for making sure that happens, but for now, compostable packaging isn’t something we should be encouraging more of.

“It’s a good idea in theory, but in practice, we don’t have the system for them at scale,” she says.

Which is what the UN confirmed at the Kenya talks in 2023.