Plastic Bags: Biodegradability

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 9th May 2019.

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Photo of Paul Farrelly Paul Farrelly Labour, Newcastle-under-Lyme

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that plastic bags labelled as biodegradable or compostable break down quickly in a natural environment.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government is concerned that, in the absence of agreed standards, claims about the biodegradability of plastic based products cannot be verified leading to potential confusion in the market place, possible increased levels of consumption and potential environmental harm at the point of disposal.

As part of the Bioeconomy Strategy published on 5 December 2018, the Government committed to work with UK Research and Innovation and industry to seek evidence on the demand, benefits and implications (for example the impact on recycling streams) of a standard for bio based and biodegradable plastics that would include carrier bags. The call for evidence will seek evidence in relation to labelling and information provision.

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