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Dynamics G-Ex Learning Hub

The Fastest Growing Geological Q&A Library in the World. You Ask a Question, We’ll Answer it Honestly!

The Future of Plastic Sample Bags & What Do Resource Regulators Allow?

Aerial view of plastic sample bags in a mining/exploration site

Most of us don’t really care to know the ins and outs of the plastics we use, like sample bags.

At a Glance

  1. Degradable Bags

  2. Biodegradable Bags

  3. Oxo-biodegradable plastic (OBP)

  4. Hydro-biodegradable plastic (HBP)

  5. So what is eco-friendly?

But we do however have a bigger responsibility to use the right plastics when drilling.

In this article I try to outline the differences in simple terms to give you confidence you're doing the right thing by our Resource Regulators, the EPA, etc.

Degradable Bags

Degradable bags are made from plastic with other chemicals added (including heavy metals) that cause the plastic to break down and disintegrate over time when exposed to sunlight and heat.

If degradable bags are left in the environment, they will break down into hundreds of tiny pieces of plastic.

It is obviously very difficult to remove hundreds of tiny pieces of plastic from the environment.

Biodegradable Bags

There is a mixed understanding, misuse, and poor definitions for the whole ‘biodegradable’ thing.

Often ‘biodegradable’ is used indiscriminately and because not everyone is clear on the term, it is easy to become unwittingly misled.

There are two main types of plastics marketed as biodegradable when they are likely not what you want:

Oxo-biodegradable (OBP)

Hydro-biodegradable (HBP)

Oxo-biodegradable plastic (OBP)

Mark of an oxo-biodegradable plastic

This plastic uses the same technology as conventional ‘normal’ plastic because it is made from fossil fuels (oil and natural gas).

The key difference is that it has an additive in the plastic to imitate bio-degradation.

Before the introduction of biodegradable materials, oxo-degradable was the ‘best’ option for an environmentally friendly solution.

This plastic breaks down to microplastics but does not break down at the molecular or polymer level like true biodegradable and compostable plastics.

The microplastics are left in the environment indefinitely until they eventually fully break down (which could take hundreds of years).


Hydro-biodegradable plastic (HBP)

Hydro-biodegradation process shows how plastic is broken down by water

Hydro-biodegradable plastic is made from plant sources such as corn, wheat, sugar-cane, petroleum-based sources or a blend of the two.

The degradation is initiated by hydrolysis (in simple terms, broken down by water).

These types of plastic degrade faster than oxo-biodegradable plastic; they are temperature resistant, and the only bioplastic that will decompose in both soil and water.

While both ‘sound’ good and are ‘biodegradable’, they are not environment-friendly.

These plastics break down to a size that you cannot see, and act like a cancer affecting the environment. 

Micro plastics that are bio-degraded but remain in the environment

We've made a conscious effort not to supply any products made from the above-mentioned plastics as it conflicts with our honest approach in offering environment-friendly packaging.

The following article might help emphasise this point. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/29/biodegradable-plastic-bags-survive-three-years-in-soil-and-sea

There is little point in paying extra ‘green dollars’ for a ‘green product’ unless it gives you added benefit.

Ultimately we search for a solution that is environmentally responsible enough to bury.

The above options are not.


So what is eco-friendly?

Compostable bags are considered as ‘biodegradable’ bags in Australia, but unlike the earlier examples they are made of natural plant starch, and do not contain any toxic material.

Compostable bags are broken down by micro organisms in the soil.

To be classified as compostable they must meet the Australian Standard for compostability AS 4736 and will have this compostable symbol and certification.

Compostable Logo that certifies item meets Australian Standard for compostability

The below diagram may help explain this simply:Infographic that shows difference of biodegradable versus compostable plastics

If you want to choose the option of burying your green UV sample bags rather than collecting them all after a drilling program, you can only do this legally and responsibly if you use a compostable bag.

To ensure this, look for the compostable logo!



This privacy policy sets out how Dynamics G-Ex Pty Ltd uses and protects any information that you may give to us when you use this website. Dynamics G-Ex is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement.

Dynamics G-Ex may change this policy from time to time by updating this page. You should check this page from time to time to ensure that you are happy with any changes.

What we collect We may collect the following information:

Name contact information including email address and phone number
company information such as company name, address and products used in business
other information relevant to ensure Dynamics G-Ex Pty Ltd can provide quotes / offers to you and your company

What we do with the information we gather We require this information to understand you and your companies requirements and provide you the correct product and excellent service, and in particular for the following reasons:

Create quotes for products that you and your company may require.
We may use the information to improve our products and service.
We may periodically send promotional emails about new products, special offers or other information which we think you may find interesting using the email address which you have provided.
From time to time, we may also contact you for feedback about our products and service. We may contact you by email or phone. We may use this information to customise the website according to your feedback.
You may request details of personal information which we hold about you. If you would like a copy of the information held on you please email sales@dynamicsgex.com.au or call 1800 105 584 (Australia)

If you believe that any information we are holding on you is incorrect or incomplete, please notify us soon as possible, and we will promptly correct any information found to be incorrect.

What we will not do with the information we gather We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online.

We will not sell, distribute or lease your personal information to third parties unless we have your permission or are required by law to do so.

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ProFab™ Superior Pre-Numbered Calico 200x300mm (8’x12”), 1000/CTN

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