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Supplier condemns Tesco's oxo-biodegradable bag switch

A company which supplied additives for Tesco’s oxo-biodegradable plastic (OBP) bags has slammed the decision to abandon the additives as “based less on facts and more on misinformed notions”.

Canadian company EPI Environmental Products, who supplied Tesco with bag additives for several years, said it was “confounded” by the Tesco comment that the OBP additive made bags weaker.

A statement said: “The weakness of the Tesco bags was most certainly not a result of using OBP additives. EPI supplied additives for Tesco bags for several years and is aware that problems with weak bags were not observed until Tesco implemented cost-cutting measures such as film thickness reduction and increase in fillers and recycled content.

“EPI’s OBP additives are used worldwide in carrier bags without any problems related to weakening of bags.”

EPI also criticised a Defra report in 2010, Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Oxo-degradable Plastics Across Their Life Cycle, which questioned the length of time over which degradation of oxo-degradable plastic took place and the uncertainty over the impact of residual plastic fragments in the soil.

It said the Defra report was an “incomplete literature review” of OBP technology and that “erroneous conclusions drawn regarding OBP degredation and biodegredation were based on misconceptions”.

The statement added: “EPI suggests that Tesco should review its decision as it appears to be based less on facts and more on misinformed notions.”

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