FEAD opposes promotion of bio-degradable plastics

The federation argues that bio-degradable plastics will contaminate the recycling chain.

In a press release European recycler’s federation FEAD has issued its concerns regarding the Commission Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste to reduce the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bag.On 17 April MEPs will have to take a decision on the draft report of MEP Auken, which strongly, promotes lightweight plastic carrier bags that are biodegradable and compostable.
FEAD firmly believes that bio-degradable plastic (whether compostable or oxo-biodegradable) should not be part of the plastic recycling chain for the following key reasons:
1. An increased use of biodegradable plastics will inevitably mean they will become mixed with the regular plastics waste stream, which would risk damaging the properties of the recycled plastic material and make it no longer recyclable.
2. Biodegradable plastics cannot degrade naturally on land or in water. This means that the concern about littering and plastic bags causing problems in waterways would not be addressed by a switch to bio-degradable plastic as such.
3. Most European countries currently lack mandatory, and widely used, collection services for separating out and sending biodegradable bags to industrial composting facilities. Consumers would therefore be required to separate out the biodegradable bags from regular plastic bags, which is unlikely to happen to the extent needed, and throw them in the residual bin.
Therefore, FEAD strongly disagrees with the suggestion as stated in the EP draft report that Member States shall take measures to ensure that very lightweight plastic carrier bags are replaced progressively by very lightweight plastic carrier bags that are biodegradable and compostable. FEAD also disagrees with the proposal to reduce the price for such bags by up to 50%. Instead, they welcome measures that limit the use of all single use carrier bags, regardless of material, and encourage reusable bags with recycled content.


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