On March 24, 2022, the New Zealand Ministry for the Environment (MfE) released a position statement on compostable products as part of its National Plastics Action Plan. MfE states that “This position statement is not meant to provide formal guidance for industry or business owners. However, it may provide some useful information about the potential challenges and opportunities for compostable products.” and “Our position is that industry, businesses and the general public should take a cautious approach when considering using compostable products.”
MfE funded a survey on household compost and household compost packaging in 2021 to investigate how these products are disposed of in households. As a result, 82% agreed or strongly agreed that compostable packaging was better for the environment than plastic packaging. On the other hand, 49% of respondents thought that compostable packaging was recyclable even though it is not.
Compostable products are often promoted as environmentally friendly alternatives to conventional plastics. In practice, however, certain conditions are often required for safe disassembly, meaning that compostable products may not finally be disassembled at compost facilities installed for this purpose.
The relevant documents can be viewed at the following URL:
- MfE Press Release, “Ministry position on compostable products”
- MfE Position Statement