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Defra awards contested biodegradable plastics research contracts

Defra has awarded the contracts for research into biodegradable plastics that had been challenged by an association of biodegradable polymer producers.

Aquapak Polymers Limited and Axion Consulting have been each awarded two contracts to carry out feasibility studies into decreasing the environmental impact of plastic polymers and economically viable methods for identification and separation of biodegradable bags.

Before the contracts were signed, Michael Stephen, chairman of the Oxo-biodegradable Plastics Association (OPA), had named the two companies in a statement and expressed doubts on whether they had enough experience with biodegradable polymers.

He added that OPA would consider asking “the courts to rule on this matter” if a contracts were awarded to the two companies.

A spokesperson for Defra told MRW: “After an open tender procedure, following the best practice guidance for a Small Business Research Initiative we can now confirm we awarded four contracts under two lots.”

The contracts under tender were for a maximum of 11 weeks and of £30,000 per project.

Defra will consider launching a second phase of the initiative upon the completion of the first stage.

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