Single-use plastics: Government consults on standards for greener alternatives

It aims to identify gaps and get expert advice on the overall sustainability of bio-based and biodegradable plastic products

The government is seeking evidence to help develop standards and an understanding of the environmental impacts of greener alternatives to single-use plastics.

It has launched a consultation on biodegradable, compostable and bio-based plastics and follows the announcement to ban products such as plastic straws and drink stirrers in England from April 2020.

The government wants to identify gaps and get expert advice on the overall sustainability of bio-based and biodegradable plastic products in comparison with those made from other materials.

It is also seeking evidence on existing relevant plastic degradation standards and how, or if, they might be promoted without any adverse effects to the environment and disposal routes as well as the design and implementation of standards for biodegradable plastics.

Global consumption of plastic material continues to grow and the International Energy Agency (IEA) said the rising use of plastics and other petrochemical products will drive global oil demand to 2050.

The consultation document states: “We are looking for robust evidence backed by scientific theory, direct practical experience or analysis, rather than opinion. This could include reference to relevant case studies, trials, academic literature or published statistics, as well as an indication of the level of consensus amongst experts working on this topic.

“We will consider the response from industry, the research community and other interested parties on the demand, benefits and implications of standards for bio-based and biodegradable plastics. The evidence received will inform our next steps in this area.”

The consultation is open until 14th October 2019.

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