Plastics: Biodegradability

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 1st March 2021.

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Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell Conservative, Sutton Coldfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to increase the use of biodegradable plastic which can naturally biodegrade.

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

While biodegradable materials may be seen as a solution to reduce the impact of waste, they can also be more environmentally damaging than non-biodegradable materials if disposed of incorrectly. The Government is also concerned that, in the absence of robust standards, claims about the biodegradability of plastic-based products cannot be verified.

In order to consider impacts carefully, Defra and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published a call for evidence to help us consider the development of standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable, and compostable plastics, and to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. We are currently analysing responses to the call for evidence with a view to publication of a government response shortly.

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