Plastics New Zealand has been working with WasteMINZ as part of the Advertising of Compostable Products Working Group (ACPWG).

The ACPWG is made up of council and industry representatives and scientists and aimed to:


  • clarify the terms used in the advertising of alternatives to plastic products
  • identify where these products should be disposed of at their end of life
  • ensure the credibility of certified compostable products is not undermined by products that make unsubstantiated claims of biodegradability.

This group has published 4 guides to compostable and biodegradable products. The  first 3 guides are aimed at consumers, retailers and businesses who are making decisions about consumables (including packaging and food service ware). 

“A Quick guide to environmental claims for plastic products and packaging – which is aimed at consumers who want to know the difference between compostable, biodegradable and degradable plastics.

It’s complicated: A guide to biodegradable & compostable products and packaging –  which is aimed at manufacturers or retailers who need to understand the environmental claims of products they are being encouraged to purchase.  Environmental educators, sustainability experts council staff and consumers who want more details will also find it useful. 

End of life flowchart – which provides a pictorial guide to the different terms and their disposal options. The flowchart can be used on its own or to complement the Quick Guide and It’s Complicated. The End of life flowchart can be downloaded as a jpeg and embedded as an infographic provided that WasteMINZ is credited for the image.

The fourth guide Best Practise Guidelines for the Advertising of Compostable Products was published in collaboration with Plastic NZ. These guidelines are aimed at manufacturers, distributors and retailers of compostable products and focus on the requirements of the Commerce Commission and the Advertising Standards Authority for claims (such as ‘compostable’, ‘biodegradable” or ‘degradable’). This guide can be viewed here.


Related Articles/Links

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Where can commercially compostable packaging and serviceware be processed in New Zealand?

Compostable packaging: Environment Ministry urges cautious approach - April 2022

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