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The Low Carbon Economy Ltd

12 Mar 2010 12:03:03

Consumers could be misled by degradable plastic claims

Consumers could be misled by degradable plastic claims
Plastics that are marketed as "degradable" by companies could have a negative impact on the environment, according to a new study.

The research, commissioned by the Department of the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs and conducted by Loughborough University, found that "oxo"-degradable plastics are unsuitable for composting or landfill because of the chemicals added to make to make it decompose.

If littered, the plastic fragments had an uncertain impact on the natural environment.

Whether the material broke down at all in landfill was dependent on where it was located – if the plastic ended up at the bottom, it was unlikely to decompose because of the lack of air.

On the findings, Dan Norris, the environment minister, said: "The research published today clearly shows us that consumers risk being confused by some claims made about oxo-degradable plastics.

"As these plastics cannot be composted, the term 'biodegradable' can cause confusion. Incorrect disposal of oxo-degradable plastics has the potential to negatively affect both recycling and composting facilities."



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