Goody Bags Under Scrutiny

So-called “biodegradable” plastic shopping bags in Australian supermarkets have failed to decompose as advertised based independent tests, raising serious questions over their green marketing claims.

About 60 million of the plastic bags, bearing the brand name Goody (produced by packaging company NuPak), have been distributed through shopping centers such as IGA, plus cafes and other stores.  But according to a story originally published by the Sydney Morning Herald, tests done in October 2009 by Belgian company Organic Waste Systems.  {Editor’s note:  2/1/2009 – the link to the Sydney Morning Herald story has been ‘deactivated’.  However, you click on the link to read the full text of “Black Mark for Green Bags” by Flint Duxfield.}

OWS testing reveals that Goody bags were ''completely intact'' after 12 weeks, by which time they were supposed to be turning into safe organic compost. By contrast, certified compostable bags largely disintegrated within two weeks. Click on photo to enlarge.

Click on the link to download a PDF of the biodegradable test results.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has been sent information questioning the green marketing claims.  In the article, it would not confirm or deny if an investigation was under way.

Jon Dee, founder of the Australian environment group Do Something!, said that the findings of the test were extremely concerning.  “I am calling for the ACCC to begin an investigation into Goody bags based on these tests. If they find it doesn’t biodegrade according to the national standards then it should clearly be removed from the market,” Mr Dee said.

Late last year the  trade association for the chief scientist for the “degradable additives” industry admitted that its products should not be promoted as compostable or for landfilling.

Thompson confirmed in the story that his company has received an inquiry about Goody bags (and the test results) by South Australia’s Environment Protection Authority, that country’s regulatory authority for green marketing claims.Let’s see what develops.

– gws –

Click on the link for an interesting overview of how Australian environmental groups recommend you evaluate biodegradability claims of “green” bags.