If a plastic material claims to be biodegradable and compostable in Australia, it must comply with Australian standard AS 4736‐2006. This standard provides assessment criteria for plastic materials that are to be biodegraded in municipal and commercial aerobic composting facilities. This Australian standard is similar to the widely known European EN 13432 standard, but has an additional requirement of a worm test.
In order to comply with the AS 4736‐2006, plastic materials need to meet the following requirements:
- Minimum of 90% biodegradation of plastic materials within 180 days in compost
- Minimum of 90% of plastic materials should disintegrate into less than 2mm pieces in compost within 12 weeks
- No toxic effect of the resulting compost on plants and earthworms.
- Hazardous substances such as heavy metals should not be present above the maximum allowed levels
- Plastic materials should contain more than 50% organic materials.
This standard was prepared by the Standards Australia (www.standards.org.au) to assist authorities regulate polymeric materials entering into the Australian market. In turn, the Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) leverages a third‐party verification system to assist manufacturers, distributors and retailers to communicate their compliance to this standard hence verify product quality with respect to biodegradability claims.