1. Compostable packaging including PLA hot cups are made with a bioplastic lining. In some cases it is made from plants which does reduce the use of fossil fuels, however, it is still a polymer, contrary to claims by suppliers describing PLA as made from plants not plastic.
2. PLA packaging will only compost under specific conditions as defined by the EU standard EN134321 and these conditions are only present at commercial composting facilities, which are very limited. There are only nine commercial composting facilities that accept compostable packaging in Australia2 – none of them in Victoria.
3. Bioplastic lined products such as compostable cups cannot be recycled in the paper and cardboard recycling stream, due to the limitations with separating the lining from the paper fibre3. And despite some claims that they can be placed in the mixed kerbside recycling bin, as demonstrated in our recent article, a MRF cannot process any takeaway cups for recycling.