Plastics: Biodegradability

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 7th September 2020.

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Photo of Charles Walker Charles Walker Chair, Administration Committee, Chair, Administration Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether oxo-degradable plastics which are produced in the UK will be excluded from EU Directive 2019/904 Article 5 after the end of the transition period; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The measures taken in EU Directive 2019/904 Article 5 place restrictions on items which can be placed on the market within the EU. Any item listed in Article 5 which is produced in the UK will therefore not be able to be sold in the EU from July 2021.

Waste is a devolved matter. Having left the EU, the UK Government now has the opportunity to reprioritise and refresh our environmental policy. We will be focusing on tackling single-use plastic items in ways that work best for us, including considering alternative approaches to the Directive to deliver the same or better overall outcome.

The Government published a call for evidence last year to help consider the development of product standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics as well as to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. We are currently analysing the responses received to inform future policy in this area. More information can be found on the GOV.UK website:

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