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nic.rupley@epa.guam.gov

Choose To Reuse: Mungna Maayek I Plastek Act of 2018

All Living Things Of The Earth Are One • Manunu Todu I Manlåla’la’

Choose To Reuse: Mungna Maayek I Plastek Act of 2018

The Guam Environmental Protection Agency (Guam EPA) is charged with the responsibility of implementing and enforcing the “Choose To Reuse: Mungna Maayek I Plastek Act of 2018”, Chapter 54B of Title 10, Guam Code Annotated (G.C.A.).

Beginning on January 1, 2021, noretail and wholesale establishments, or any other entity licensed under Chapter 70 of Title 11, GCA, to do business shall purchase or sell or distribute to consumers any disposable carryout plastic bag except disposable carryout plastic bags that meet the following criteria set forth in §54B103(a) disposable carryout bags made of paper, and (b) disposable carryout bags made of plastic, including plastics made from bio-based polymers, shall be biodegradable or compostable; and if otherwise not biodegradable or compostable, be made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) film marked with the SPI resin identification code 2.

Guam EPA finds that entities claiming to purchase or sell or distribute plastic bags made from bio-based polymers that are compostable and biodegradable, should substantiate their claim with reliable evidence to prevent misleading environmental information to consumers. Environmental marketing claims should adhere to uniform and recognized standards, including those standard specifications established by the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) International and consistent with the Federal Trade Commission Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims.  Also known as the “Green Guides”. (Part 260 of Subchapter B of Chapter I of Title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations).

Retail and wholesale establishments should ensure that the manufacturer or supplier of bags that are purported to be made from bio-based polymers, biodegradable, or compostable, conform to the ASTM Standard Specifications and that the conforming plastic bags are readily and easily identifiable from other plastic bags in a manner that is consistent with the Federal Trade Commission Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims 

For purposes of this section, “readily and easily identifiable” means bags that meet the following requirements:

Compostable bag:

• Having product data readily available that denotes compliance with the American Society for Testing and Materials ASTM D6400-19 (standard specification for solid material biodegradation (by composting) required for the labeling of plastics designed to be aerobically composted in municipal or industrial facilities) standard specification by a recognized third-party independent verification body.

•  Bag made of a uniform color of green and labeled with the word “Compostable”

•  A compostable plastic bag shall not display a chasing arrow resin identification code or recycling type of symbol in any form.

• Plastic bags that do not meet the definition of compostable shall not be tinted green

Biodegradable plastic bag:

• Labeled or have product data available as meeting any of the following ASTM’s testing standard specification by recognized verification entity:

ASTM D5511-18 Standard Test Method for Determining Anaerobic Biodegradation of Plastic Materials Under High-Solids Anaerobic-Digestion Conditions: 

  • ASTM D6954 – 18 Standard Guide for Exposing and Testing Plastics that Degrade in the Environment by a Combination of Oxidation and Biodegradation; 
  • ASTM D5988-18 Standard Test Method For Determining Aerobic Biodegradation of Plastic Materials In Soil; or
  • ASTM D5338- 15 (2021) Standard Test Method for Determining Aerobic Biodegradation of Plastic Materials Under Controlled Composting Conditions, Incorporating Thermophilic Temperatures; or
  • ASTM D5526-18 Standard Test Method for Determining Anaerobic Biodegradation of Plastic Materials Under Accelerated Landfill Conditions; or
  • ASTM D6400 standard specification for a biodegradable/compostable product’s ability to decompose in ideal composting conditions.

• Labeled with the word “Biodegradable”

• A Biodegradable Plastic Bag shall not display a chasing arrow resin identification code or recycling type of symbol in any form

Definition of disposable carryout bag made of paper – for the purpose of this policy, a disposable bag made of paper shall mean a paper bag that:

• Is made from Kraft paper or recycled paper

Limit on definitions:

Guam EPA recognizes that the exception to the ban on disposable carryout plastic bags for bags that meet the criteria in §54B103(b) terminates on December 31, 2021, and that after that date, retail and wholesale establishments, and entities licensed under 11 GCA Chapter 70, shall not purchase, sell or distribute to consumers any disposable carryout plastic bags as defined in Title 10 GCA Chapter 54B. The Guam Environmental Protection Agency further recognizes that an exception to the ban on disposable carryout bags for bags made out of paper terminates on July 1, 2022, except as to eating and drinking establishments. Guam EPA will encourage retail and wholesale establishments and entities licensed under 11 GCA Chapter 70 to eliminate the sale and distribution of all disposable carryout bags in anticipation of the termination of the exceptions listed in §54B103(a) and (b).