Macedon Ranges Council calls out ‘greenwashing’

Macedon Ranges Council has called out “greenwashing” in a push for a national ban on harsh fragmentable plastic products and mandatory product recycle labelling.
Councillors have slammed “false advertising” on plastic products that are not fully biodegradable and will take their fight to the Australian Local Government Association’s national general assembly in June.
They want to halt import, manufacturing and use of all fragmentable polyethylene products such as oxo-biodegradable plastic bags and packaging, which often claim to be better for the environment.
Spearheading the move, Cr Jennifer Anderson stressed the dangers of “greenwashing”.
“People may adversely think, when they see the labels, that it’s biodegradable and it’s able to be broken down. They may put it into their food organics bin (or recycling) – it will contaminate that,” Cr Anderson said.
“The only place for them is landfill and even in landfill they are dangerous. They break down into multiple little bits of plastic and emit methane because of the content in them that allows them to ‘break down’.”
Cr Anderson said, while the council could not stop the community from using these products, councillors had the responsibility and power to advocate for change that was needed at a federal government level.
“Some people might question if this is relevant to local government – yes, it very much is. Our role is to advocate,” Cr Anderson said.
“We just brought in food organics, garden organics and we are trying to make sure we have a nice clean stream of plastic recyclables and to reduce the amount of these kind of products that go into landfill.”
Part of the push for bettering plastics use will include advocating for mandatory product labelling that clearly states that a product meets Australian Standards and that “no other labelling as ‘biodegradable’ or ‘compostable’ should be allowed unless it conforms to the Australian Standards”.
The council will also call for the federal government to work with local and state governments, private businesses and investors to provide increased policy and financial support to the Australian manufacturing industry to make resources recovered from kerbside collections, construction and demolition, and commercial and industrial processes.

One thought on “Macedon Ranges Council calls out ‘greenwashing’

  • March 5, 2020 at 2:26 am
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    The idea that oxo-biodegradable plastics behave in the same way as oxo-degradable plastics gained credence through a report of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2017 which said that “oxo-degradable plastics” plastics simply fragmented into microplastics, and it was widely understood that they were referring to oxo-biodegradable plastics as well.

    However, having enaged with scientists from the Oxo-biodegradable Plastics Association (www.biodeg.org) EMF no longer say that. They accept in their May 2019 report that “oxo-degradable” plastics (they mean oxo-biodegradable” plastics) are manufactured so that they can degrade faster than conventional plastics and that they do become biodegradable. Until we can be sure that no plastic will get into the environment it must all be made oxo-biodegradable

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