Paul Marmot, chairman, Carrier Bag Consortium
Yes. The principles of best environmental practice are already met by conventional plastic bags .Retailers have halved the number of lightweight bags used: Wrap research shows that lightweight bags are re-used by around 76% of households; and there are now 5,000 recycling points for bags that have reached the end of their useful life. Bags which break down in time also break the first rule of sustainability because all of the resources in making them are at some point lost for ever.
Michael Stephen, deputy chairman, Symphony Environmental Technologies
No. Tesco had set a good example by supplying degradable carrier bags, which will not lie or float around for decades if they get into the environment.
Their bags were weak because they were not suitably made. This has nothing to do with degradability. Recyclability is not an issue. Our d2w bags can be made with recyclate, and can themselves be recycled. The Loughborough Report contained some positive findings about our type of degradable plastic.
David Tozer, technical officer, Association for Organics Recycling
Yes. We welcome Tesco’s decision. It shows a commitment to the environment by focusing on sound scientific evidence. Increasing the diversion of waste away from landfill into recycling streams and organic treatment means that the collection of appropriate materials is vital.
Conventional bags are accepted resources for the plastic recyclate market and certified ‘compostable’ bags are suitable inputs to composting processes.
Oxo biodegradable material is unsuitable for conversion into plastic recyclate.
John Williams, head of materials for energy and industry, NNFCC
Yes. Tesco made the right decision as oxos have a lot of disadvantages. They do not biodegrade in a landfill and create thousands of fragments.
Tesco stopped short of taking the next step of a landfill biodegradable additive. They would have had a bag that is just as strong and could be recycled as normal but would biodegrade away in a year or two. The bags wouldn’t be lingering in the environment for our future generations to deal with. That would have been a winner for Tesco’s image to market.