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Oxo-degradable Plastic Products

Oxo-degradable products are prohibited from March 1, 2022

It will be an offence to sell, supply, distribute, manufacture or produce oxo-degradable plastic products in South Australia from March 1, 2022.

 

Oxo-degradable plastic products contain additives enabling the plastic to break down into tiny fragments or microplastics, which do not completely decompose. This type of plastic is commonly used in items such as:

  • Supermarket produce bags
  • Magazine wraps
  • Dry cleaning bags
  • Kitchen products (e.g. piping bags)
  • Bin liners
  • Garbage bags
  • Pet waste bags
  • Litter tray liners
  • Bubble wrap
  • Sticking tape
  • Padded envelopes
From March 1, 2022 it is an offence to manufacture or produce oxo-degradable plastic in South Australia, and it is also an offence to sell, supply or distribute oxo-degradable plastic products.

The legislation also prevents these products from being supplied or distributed from South Australia to other states/territories or countries.

If you are unsure about a product you sell, supply or distribute, or manufacture/produce, meets the definition of an oxo-degradable plastic product, please CONTACT US.


FAQ's

  • What types of products are known to contain oxo-degradable additives?

    Plastic items that commonly contain oxo-degradable additives are:

    • Supermarket produce bags
    • Magazine wraps
    • Dry cleaning bags
    • Kitchen products (e.g. piping bags)
    • Bin liners
    • Garbage bags
    • Pet waste bags
    • Litter tray liners
    • Bubble wrap
    • Sticking tape
    • Padded envelopes

  • How can I identify oxo-degradable plastic?

    1. Look for logos that can tell you it ISN’T oxo-degradable.
      The following logos indicate that a product is certified compostable and is NOT oxo-degradable.

    2. Look for the term ‘oxo-degradable’ on the product or its packaging.
      Other terms that could suggest that the product is a prohibited product in South Australia include: ‘oxo-biodegradable, ‘degradable’ and ‘fragmentable’ - plus many other terms.
      Further information may be required to determine that these products are prohibited in SA.

    3. Look for information about what the products claims to do. For example, does it claim to ‘fragment’ but isn’t certified compostable? Does it ‘break down’ in the open environment (on land or in water), but also contains fossil fuel-derived plastic?

    4. If you are still unsure whether the product is an oxo-degradable plastic product, CONTACT US for further guidance.

  • How is oxo-degradable plastic defined in the legislation?

    In the legislation:

    Oxo-degradable plastic means:

    ‘a material (however described) made of plastic which includes additives to accelerate the fragmentation of the material into smaller pieces, triggered by ultraviolet radiation or heat exposure, whether or not this is, or may be, followed by partial or complete breakdown of the material by microbial action’.

    See HERE to access the legislation in full.

     

  • What can I use in place of oxo-degradable packaging products?

    The legislation does not prohibit the sale, supply or distribution of pet waste bags, bin liners, and other packaging products that do not contain oxo-degradable additives.


    Therefore, alternatives to oxo-degradable plastic products are currently:


    FOR PRODUCTS THAT ARE INTENDED TO AND WILL BE SENT TO LANDFILL:

    • conventional fossil fuel derived plastic products (such as PET, LDPE, HPDE)
    • bio-based non-biodegradable plastic (such as bio-polyethylene Bio PE, bio-polypropylene Bio PP and bio-polyethylene terephalate Bio PET).
      These plastics acts in a similar manner to conventional fossil fuel-derived plastic and cannot be composted in a home compost bin or in industrial composting facilities. 

    For further information on bio-based plastics SEE HERE

     

    FOR PRODUCTS THAT ARE INTENDED TO AND WILL BE COMPOSTED:

    Look for products certified to the Australian Standards:AS 5810 and AS 4736

     

    Products certified to AS 5810 can go in your home compost bin.

    Products certified to AS 4736 can be processed in industrial composting facilities and can be placed in the kerbside green organics bin*.

    *Check the South Australia's Which Bin website to confirm that your council accepts products certified to these standards.

  • What do I do with excess stock? Oxo-degradable Plastics.

    From 1 March 2022, it is an offence to distribute oxo-degradable products outside of South Australia, whether interstate or overseas. Therefore, options for managing leftover oxo-degradable products are limited.


    Please contact Green Industries SA via EMAIL or on 08 8204 2051 if you are seeking advice on managing this excess stock.


    If you are seeking to dispose of this stock:

    • Please dispose of the items in a general waste to landfill bin.


    Note: Oxo-degradable products are not designed to break down in industrial composting facilities and are considered a contaminant in the recycling stream. They must not be disposed of in the kerbside green organics bin and must not be disposed of in home composting systems.

  • What about any prohibited plastic items I have at home? Can I use these up?

    South Australia’s single-use plastics legislation restricts the sale, supply or distribution of certain products. It does not prohibit the use of items that have been purchased for personal use ahead of the legislation commencing. Therefore, householders will be permitted to use up their supply of oxo-degradable plastic products they may have purchased ahead of 1 March 2022.

  • How can I correctly dispose of oxo-degradable plastic products?

    Please dispose of the items in a general waste to landfill bin.


    Note: Oxo-degradable products are not designed to break down in industrial composting facilities and are considered a contaminant in the recycling stream. They must not be disposed of in the green organics kerbside bin and must not be disposed of in home composting systems.

  • How is the legislation enforced, and what penalties apply for businesses that continue to sell, supply, distribute, manufacture or produce oxo-degradable products after 1 March 2022?

    Enforcement of the legislation is undertaken by Authorised Officers from the Environment Protection Authority under South Australia’s Environment Protection Act 1993.


    The EPA uses discretion when responding to any breaches of the legislation and can respond to non-compliance in various ways, ranging from providing verbal and written warnings through to expiations and prosecution. 


    If you have concerns about banned products being supplied and would like to report a business, please contact the Environment Protection Authority [HERE].

     

    Offences and penalties that apply to oxo-degradable plastic products are:

     

    Offence Description

     

    Expiation Amount

     

    Max. Court Penalty Amount

     

    Section of SUP Act

    Person manufactures or produces oxo-degradable plastic products in course of carrying on a business.


    $1,000


    $20,000


    9








    Wholesaler/distributor selling, supplying or distributing oxo-degradable plastic products in course of carrying on a business as a wholesaler or distributor.


    $1,000


    $20,000


    10 (1) (a)








    Person selling, supplying or distributing oxo-degradable plastic products in course of carrying on a business.


    $315


    $5,000


    10 (1) (b)








    Failure to provide manufacturer's or producer's certification as to oxo-degradable plastic content of plastic products.


    -


    $20,000


    11 (1)








    Failure to provide distributor’s certification as to oxo-degradable plastic content of plastic products.


    -


    $20,000


    11 (2)








    Person must not represent that product is not comprised of oxo-degradable plastic.


    -


    $30,000


    12