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Defra will hear further evidence from stakeholders on oxo-degradable plastics

The British Plastics Federation (BPF) is to submit more information about oxo-degradable plastic to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) following “very limited consultation” for a report published earlier this year.

Defra’s report, Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Oxo-degradable Plastics Across Their Life-Cycle, was published in March. It found that although producers of these plastics claim the material is 100% degradable or biodegradable, it can take two to five years for the process to complete. So items such as oxo-degradable plastic bags are not suitable for composting because the process takes longer than six months.

According to the BPF’s public and industrial affairs director Philip Law, there was “very limited consultation” for the report, which was based on research found by Loughborough University.

“It was a very negative report and it was a big issue for the industry,” explained Law. “So those BPF members who have an interest in oxo-degradable plastics went to Defra to see if was possible to submit more information that it may have overlooked the first time around.”

Law said the BPF and its members met Defra about four weeks ago to discuss the report. These members will now compile more information, which will be submitted to Defra during the following few weeks.

He was unable to tell MRW what would be in the report or whether it would go against the original research. “Defra appears to have an open ear,” he added. “It has proposed to consider new evidence. But it’s too early to say what it will do with the information.”

A spokesperson for Defra confirmed: “Senior officials have agreed to look into the concerns that the BPF has raised on this issue and look forward to receiving further information from them.”

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