The recent condemnation of oxo-degradable additives by the European Plastics Recyclers Association and the US-based National Association for PET Container Resources brought a rebuff from Symphony Environmental Technologies, which makes oxo-degradable additives.
The two organisations had expressed concerns about the contamination of the recycling stream by additives that could lead to a waste of a valuable resource. Symphony accused the EuPR of publishing “alarmist nonsense” and pointed out that “wild statements” about oxo-degradable additives contaminating recycling streams took no account of compostable and bio-based plastics that could also enter the recycling stream and compromise the recycling of oil-based plastics – and that anyway, oxo-degradable plastics could be reycled. The company urged the EuPR to sit down with it and discuss its concerns.
Now the EuPR has issued its own challenge to the oxo-degradable producers to test and prove the recyclability of their products with organisations such as the European PET Bottle Platform. The EuPR points out that the European Waste Framework Directive does not mention oxo-degradables and as the directive requires that all waste must be treated before going to landfill, plastics containing oxo-degradables will be included in the streams arriving at recyclers.
What damage this waste will do to the recycling streams is not clear, admits the EuPR, but it says that in the past plastics recyclers have experienced problems as a result of new materials and technologies on the market. It says that oxo-degradable producers “first need to convince the plastics industry (recyclers, converters, fillers….) and the environmental organisation that their products are effectively sustainable as they claim to be before putting them on the market.”