The Oxo-biodegradable Plastics Association (OPA) accused the British Plastics Federation (BPF) and others of “scaremongering” recently, according to a report by British Plastics and Rubber (BP&R).
From October this year, UK has been implementing an exemption from the bag tax. The BPF, the Environmental Services Association (ESA) and Plastics 2020 raised concerns that would encourage littering and jeopardise the plastics recycling system.
As explained by Roger Baynham, British Plastics Federation Recycling Group Chairman, such a move would not only be contrary to the recommendations of the UK Government’s own Environmental Audit Committee but is also opposed by virtually all organisations in the plastics sector.
He added: “Over the last three years, the UK has seen the emergence of significant infrastructure to support plastics recycling. This is at a critical stage where it is necessary for these investments to demonstrate profitable growth and to meet the needs of higher overall recycling targets. This policy exemption could undermine these businesses due to the potential for contamination.”
However, as BP and R reported, the OPA has retorted, claiming that scientific evidence has been produced to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) that oxo-biodegradable plastic can be recycled without the need for segregation. “The recyclers have produced only scare stories with no scientific basis,” it said.
The association says that oxo-biodegradable bags are the only type of plastic carrier bag that is biodegradable in the open environment if littered, but can also be recycled. It also claims that DEFRA has found no evidence that biodegradability encourages littering, stating that “there will always be people who dispose irresponsibly of their waste, and that type of person does not care whether it is biodegradable or not.”