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Is compostable packaging GOOD or BAD for the environment?

5 June 2022 2:26 PM
Tags:
biodegradable
The Organics Recycling Association of South Africa
Melanie Ludwig
Compostable

Weekend Breakfast presenter Sara-Jayne King speaks to Melanie Ludwig, member of the Organics Recycling Association of SA.
  • 5 June marks World Environment Day
  • In recent years there's been a big focus on reducing the use of plastic products
  • In response, there's been an uptick in the production and use of compostable packaging
  • The Organics Recycling Association of South Africa is concerned about the possible damage compostable materials can have on soil and long-term food production

Pick n Pay has become the first South African retailer to trial compostable bags. Picture: Facebook.com.

Many of us are aware of the devastating impact plastics are having on our environment, especially on our rivers and oceans.

In response, many packaging companies are switching to compostable packaging to try and reduce the use of plastics.

The Organics Recycling Association of South Africa is concerned that the switch to compostable materials may damage the soil and impact long term food production.

According to Melanie Ludwig, member of the Organics Recycling Association of South Africa, compostable products are required to be tested in a laboratory to ensure that they breakdown in a defined period of time and do not leave a harmful chemical residue that could potential affect plant or animal health.

Ludwig says South Africans need to be educated about compostable materials and how to correctly identify tested and certified imported products.

They must be internationally certified. This means that it has what's called a conformity logo on it, with a registration number, which links us to a certificate which proves the compostability.

Melanie Ludwig - Member of the Organics Recycling Association of South Africa

Compostable means that a certain item will break down in certain conditions, in a certain time frame. That's very different to biodegradable.

Melanie Ludwig - Member of the Organics Recycling Association of South Africa

A coffee cup or compostable cutlery needs to be processed in a facility where it's composted.

Melanie Ludwig - Member of the Organics Recycling Association of South Africa

A lot of companies are importing products from China, with the word compostable printed on them, and this does not guarantee that it actually is compostable.

Melanie Ludwig - Member of the Organics Recycling Association of South Africa

Scroll to the top of the article to listen to the interview.


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Is compostable packaging GOOD or BAD for the environment?




5 June 2022 2:26 PM
Tags:
biodegradable
The Organics Recycling Association of South Africa
Melanie Ludwig
Compostable

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