Mid of October, the City of Graz – with about 260,000 inhabitants Austria’s second largest city – started an innovative campaign to support the use of biodegradable packaging and to strengthen an efficient, separate biowaste collection. As there are about a dozen farmers’ markets in Graz, offering regional fruits and vegetables several times a week, the city teamed up with Verpackungszentrum Graz (Packaging Center Graz) and stared to offer certified compostable bags to around 370 farmers.
The bags that Verpackungszentrum Graz provides to the markets are certified according to the European norm for industrial compostability EN 13432 and carry the OK COMPOST label. The material is tear-resistant as well as water- and grease-proofed.
Farmers receive the bags for free, pack their products in them and pass them on to their customers for a small charge. After transporting the fresh and locally produced goods home, the customer can profit from the dual-use of the compostable bags by collecting biowaste in them.
By providing a hygienic and comfortable solution to collect biowaste, compostable bags can increase the collected volumes and help to reduce biowaste that otherwise would go to landfill or hinder energy recovery. Also – according to a survey by the European Commission – compostable bags are way less likely to be littered due to their dual use compared to their conventional counterparts.