Clause 21 - ''Biodegradable waste'' and ''municipal waste''

Part of Waste and Emissions Trading Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:15 pm on 10th April 2003.

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Photo of Ms Sue Doughty Ms Sue Doughty Liberal Democrat, Guildford 4:15 pm, 10th April 2003

The purpose of the amendments is to recognise that the scope for biodegradable waste has increased in the last few years. We used to think of it merely as food and garden waste and paper and paper board, but new technologies have created packaging, in particular, from other materials. One hears about packaging made from potato starch, which is biodegradable, and plastic carrier bags that can degrade within the year. I worry that we talk about biodegradable municipal waste without really knowing what it is. We all know what garden waste and food waste look like. However, with the packaging and other materials that are coming into use, we do not know what is biodegradable. Our purpose in adding the words

''certain plastics designed specifically to degrade''

was to draw attention to the fact that some materials are creeping into common use and to ask whether they are part of the biodegradable waste that we are counting.