Carrier bag charge to be introduced in England

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It is encouraging that the government is thinking of incentivising the manufacture of biodegradable bags by exempting them from the charge provided they meet the required criteria, As the principal reason for the charge is litter caused by plastic bags the government needs to specify oxo-biodegradable bags, which are tested to biodegrade in the open environment, and not to emit methane if buried in landfill. By contrast, vegetable-based plastic bags are tested to biodegrade only in industrial composting, and very few carrier bags will end up there. Also they will generate methane deep in landfill.

Oxo-biodegradable bags are made from a by-product of oil-refining to make fuels, and the same amount of oil would be extracted whether plastic existed or not. By contrast, vegetable-based plastic bags use a lot of fossil-fuels, and scarce land and water resources in their production and polymerisation processes.

OPA more than 3 years ago

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