There is much confusion amongst consumers about single-use packaging materials labelled and marketed as 'Bio-Based', 'Biodegradable', 'Compostable', ‘Renewable’, ‘Plant-Based’ or 'Oxo-degradable'. Consumers can be misled about the promised environmental benefits and end-of-life for products labelled ‘biodegradable’.

Most Bioplastics and Oxo-Degradable plastics are Recycling Code #7, and are not recyclable when mixed with fossil-based recyclable plastic (with exception of Bio-PET and Bio-PE which are recyclable). Bioplastics are now available worldwide for many types of food packaging such as straws, hot and cold drink containers, lids, food boxes, plates, cutlery, water bottles, water soluble sachets, garbage bags, and shopping bags. The global market share for Bioplastics is projected to increase, however the responsible waste management options are rarely available to most people.

There are little to no mandatory international standards regarding the composition, labelling and marketing of these products. Some examples of labelling include, ‘eco-friendly’, ‘cornstarch plastic’, ‘renewable’, ‘plant plastic’ and ‘not plastic’. 

The aim of this survey is to create an international overview of the below: 
-  Which single-use Bioplastic and Oxo-degradable packaging and products are available globally?
- Which labels and texts are printed on Bioplastic and Oxo-degradable plastic products?
- Do you have an available and appropriate waste management system to handle these products after use?
-  Your understanding of the properties of these materials based on labelling ?

Short definitions regarding Bioplastics and Oxo-Degradable Plastic:
Bio-based: A material is considered ‘bio-based’ if it is completely or partially derived from biomass. The biobase content of a material is not an indicator of the biodegradability of the material and not all bio-based bioplastics are biodegradable. There is no international standard or regulation requiring bioplastics producers to disclose the percentage of biobase content – it can range from 7 to 100%. (For further reading please scroll down to the bottom of this survey)
Biodegradable: Generally, a material which degrades by microbial activity and breaks down into water, biomass, carbon dioxide and methane in a similar speed as for food, leaves or paper, is regarded as biodegradable. Not all bioplastics are biodegradable and there are some biodegradable plastics which are 100% fossil-based. The type of environment in which a material biodegrades should be indicated.
Compostable (Home/ Industrial): Composting is biodegradation in composting conditions in a certain time without negatively influencing the quality of the compost. This can either be done in a backyard home compost or an industrial scale commercial composting facility where temperature, oxygen supply, microbes and moisture are highly controlled.  Plastics certified as industrially compostable are not biodegradable outside of a controlled composting facility.
Oxo-degradable: Oxo-degradable materials are neither bio-based nor biodegradable. They are a conventional fossil-based plastic with an additive to imitate biodegradation. At the degradation phase these materials fragment into microplastics and remain in the environment. 

Recommended: facts & figures about bio-based products can be found at the bottom of this survey in Q44

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* 1. In which country and province are you located?

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* 2. Which packaging made with Renewable, Bio-Based, Biodegradable, Compostable or Oxo-Degradable materials do you encounter in your country ?  Please tick all applicable

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* 3. Did you see a recycling symbol on SHOPPING BAG ? Just skip this question in case you did not encounter this specific packaging. 
This symbol is usually used in combination with a number to indicate the plastic type ( nr 1 to 7 ) - or the letter 'B' (bio-based)

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* 4. Did you see a recycling symbol on GARBAGE BAG ? Just skip this question in case you did not encounter this specific packaging.

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* 5. Did you see a recycling symbol on DOGGY POOP BAG ? Just skip this question in case you did not encounter this specific packaging.

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* 6. Did you see a recycling symbol on INNER LINING OR LAYER OF JUICE/MILK PACK  ? Just skip this question in case you did not encounter this specific packaging.

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* 7. Did you see a recycling symbol on GROCERY STORE FOOD TRAYS OR BOXES ? Just skip this question in case you did not encounter this specific packaging.

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* 8. Did you see a recycling symbol on STRAWS ? Just skip this question in case you did not encounter this specific packaging.

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* 9. Did you see a recycling symbol on CUPS AND GLASSES FOR HOT OR COLD DRINKS AND LIDS ? Just skip this question in case you did not encounter this specific packaging.

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* 10. Did you see a recycling symbol on TAKEAWAY/DISPOSABLE FOOD TRAYS OR BOXES ? Just skip this question in case you did not encounter this specific packaging.

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* 11. Did you see a recycling symbol on CUTLERY ? Just skip this question in case you did not encounter this specific packaging.

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* 12. Did you see a recycling symbol on HAIR DRESSER MATERIALS (EXAMPLE: COLOUR GUARDS) ? Just skip this question in case you did not encounter this specific packaging.Is your waste collected by local municipality or other collector ?

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* 13. Did you see a recycling symbol on ANOTHER PRODUCT ?
PLEASE SPECIFY THE PRODUCT IN COMMENT BOX BELOW 

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* 14. Did you see one or more of the following descriptive texts on the SHOPPING BAG ?  Please tick all applicable - multiple answers possible
Just skip this question in case you did not encounter this specific packaging.



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* 15. Did you see one or more of the following descriptive texts on the GARBAGE BAG ?  Please tick all applicable - multiple answers possible
Just skip this question in case you did not encounter this specific packaging.



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* 16. Did you see one or more of the following descriptive texts on the DOGGY POOP BAG ?   
Please tick all applicable - multiple answers possible
Just skip this question in case you did not encounter this specific packaging.



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* 17. Did you see one or more of the following descriptive texts below on the INNER LIN ING OR LAYER OF JUICE/MILK PACK ?   
Please tick all applicable - multiple answers possible
Just skip this question in case you did not encounter this specific packaging.



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* 18. Did you see one or more of the following descriptive texts on the GROCERY STORE FOOD TRAY OR BOX ?   
Please tick all applicable - multiple answers possible
Just skip this question in case you did not encounter this specific packaging.



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* 19. Did you see one or more of the following descriptive texts on the STRAWS ?   
Please tick all applicable - multiple answers possible
Just skip this question in case you did not encounter this specific packaging.



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* 20. Did you see one or more of the following descriptive texts on the CUPS AND GLASSES FOR HOT OR COLD DRINKS AND LIDS ?
Please tick all applicable - multiple answers possible
Just skip this question in case you did not encounter this specific packaging.



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* 21. Did you see one or more of the following descriptive texts on the TAKEAWAY/DISPOSABLE FOOD BOXES, TRAYS OR PLATES ?   
Please tick all applicable - multiple answers possible.
Just skip this question in case you did not encounter this specific packaging.



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* 22. Did you see one or more of the following descriptive texts on the CUTLERY 
Please tick all applicable - multiple answers possible.
Just skip this question in case you did not encounter this specific packaging.



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* 23. Did you see one or more of the following descriptive texts on the HAIR DRESSER PRODUCTS (EXAMPLE: COLOUR GUARDS)
Please tick all applicable - multiple answers possible.
Just skip this question in case you did not encounter this specific packaging.



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* 24. Did you see one or more of the following descriptive texts on ANOTHER PRODUCT - PLEASE SPECIFY TYPE OF PRODUCT IN COMMENT BOX BELOW
Please tick all applicable - multiple answers possible




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* 25. In case you noticed the text ‘Compostable’ or ‘Plant Plastic’ or ‘Not Plastic’ on a packaging / product: did it mention ‘Industrial Composting’ or ‘Industrial Compostable ?

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* 26. In case you noticed the text ‘Compostable’ on a packaging / product: did it mention ‘Home Composting’ or ‘Home Compostable’ ?

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* 27. In case the packaging was labelled Oxo-degradable: did it mention WHERE it will degrade? (Examples: Backyard, Nature, Landfill) 

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* 28. In case the packaging was labelled Oxo-Degradable: did it mention how long it needs to degrade?

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* 29. In case the packaging was labelled Biodegradable: did it mention a specific environment where it should degrade? (Biodegradable in Soil, Landfill, Water, Marine)

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* 30. In case the packaging was labelled Biodegradable, did it carry a pictogram / logo indicating biodegradability ?
Usually this is a green coloured pictogram or logo - some examples via this link 

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* 31. In case the packaging was labelled Biodegradable: did it mention how long it needs to degrade?

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* 32. In case a degradation time was indicated : was this indicated in a pictogram ? 

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* 33. Do you have a waste collection service where you reside? (can be provided by your local government or a private business)

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* 34. Are you required to separate your waste into various categories in your municipality ? 

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* 35. Does you waste collector collects your organic waste - Fruit/Vegetable/Garden waste - separately from your other household waste ?

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* 36. Does your waste collector allow mixing Compostable bags and compostable packaging with your Fruit/Vegetable/Garden waste ?

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* 37. Does your waste collector allow mixing Oxo-degradable bags and packaging with your Fruit/Vegetable/Garden waste

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* 38. Does your collection service allow mixing of Oxo-degradable Bags and your recyclable Oxo-Degradable Packaging?

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* 39. Compostable or Plant based shopping bags: how do you dispose of them after use?

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* 40. Regarding Biodegradable or Oxo-Degradable shopping bags: how do you dispose of them after use?

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* 41. Feel free to add additional comments about this topic in the commentbox below

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* 42. Please leave your contact details below. 

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* 43. Thanks very much for your contribution ! And please keep sharing this survey in your network. 
The results of the survey will be published in due course. The collected data in this survey are property of all contributors.
Please feel free to leave any comments in the comment box below.
For any information you can contact us at: 
nina@indonesianwaste.org and janenaturelover@gmail.com 
For further reading on this topic we recommend: 
Bio-based and biodegradable plastics – Facts and Figures
Focus on food packaging in the Netherlands by Wageningen University
- Bio-Based and Biodegradable Plastics by The Norwegian Environment Agency
- About standards of bio-based products: 
There is no common agreement on a minimal biobase content for a Bio-based material. Japan’s GreenPLA standard requires a minimum biobase content of 25% while the USDA Bio-preferred program’s biomass range is 7-95%, depending on the product. The EU certifiers, Vinçotte and DIN CERTCO, offer a logo labeling based on CEN/TS 16137 (or ASTM D 6866) which classifies biobase carbon content within ranges starting at only 20%.  
- About Oxo-degradable: European Union policy on Oxo-degradable products

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