Plastic materials, including those labeled as “biodegradable” or “compostable”, should be excluded from household and collective composters.

This was stated by the National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (Anses), in an opinion published on Monday.

More than a third of French people recycle their waste in domestic or collective composters.

In addition to food waste (vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, tea bags), some people add plastic waste.

This waste is indicated as "biodegradable", "biosourced" or "compostable".

Possible contamination of soils and people

But their real and total degradation is “not guaranteed” in domestic composters, “especially since it is difficult to control the operating conditions”, underlines ANSES.

When these composts are reused, contamination of the environment and local crops is therefore possible.

“This contamination can come from the various constituents of materials [polymers, residual monomers, additives] presenting potential dangers” for human health and the environment, underlines Stéphane Leconte, coordinator of the expertise at ANSES.

The agency therefore recommends not placing any plastic material in domestic and collective composters.

A turning point for composting in 2024

ANSES also recommends reviewing the regulations governing composting.

It should "prohibit any allusion or even incitement to put plastic materials in a domestic compost" and review the standards surrounding biodegradability with in particular more restrictive criteria, according to her.

The agency was called upon under the 2020 law on the fight against waste to write a report on the health, environmental and societal impacts of biosourced, biodegradable and compostable plastic materials.

This same law will make it mandatory on January 1, 2024 to compost food waste, either yourself or in dedicated bins.


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  • Recycling

  • Plastic

  • Environment

  • Waste

  • Planet