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EPI slams Loughborough OBD report

An oxo-biodegradable additive supplier has condemned the findings of a controversial report into the environmmental impacts of such plastics.

EPI Environmental Products, whose additives are used in oxo-biodegradable bags (OBD), described the report by specialists at Loughborough University as having presented an “unflattering portrait” of the technology and alleged that it “attacked many of the core benefits associated with OBD”.

In a statement, EPI said: “This was of particular concern because the report was commissioned by a UK government body (Defra), whose opinion is normally respected”.

The criticism follows an announcement from Tesco which cited the report as evidence for abandoning OBD bags.

EPI has conducted a review of the report by its International Scientific Advisory Board (ISAB) which suggested “severe deficiencies, both in the authors’ review of available information and in the reasoning behind their conclusions” and alleged that proponents of bioplastics had “guided the authors”.

In May, a group of industry representatives issued a “rebuttal document” which was presented to Defra on behalf of the OBD industry, the contents of which will be published once Defra has responded to it.

The EPI statement added: “The amount of information collected for this [rebuttal] document clearly shows that there is a vast body of scientific evidence substantiating the performance of OBD technology which the Defra authors did not access or take into account. This information refutes the conclusions of the Defra report and validates the claims of the OBD stakeholders with regards to the benefits of OBD plastics.”

None of the academics at Loughborough involved in drawing up the report was available for comment.

  • Last week, MRW reported that Symphony Environmental Technologies had called for the scrapping of the National Non-Food Crops centre for backing Tesco’s decision.

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