Some 98 per cent of Britons re-use their plastic carrier bags bags for shopping, as bin liners, or for other uses around the home, and 85 per cent believe that all plastic bags should be both recyclable and biodegradable according to a recent YouGov survey. 59% would prefer to shop at supermarkets which provide plastic carrier bags which are both biodegradable and recyclable, and only 3% would prefer to shop at supermarkets that provide only conventional bags.
The survey was commissioned by Symphony Environmental Technologies plc, a UK company and world leader in environmentally responsible plastic technology, in response to the UK Government’s plans to put a five pence levy on plastic carrier bags in England from October 2015. This was the first time the British public has been asked about the levy. The levy does not currently distinguish between traditional plastic carrier bags and those that are both biodegradable and recyclable, but the government has indicated that it would exempt suitable biodegradable bags from the levy.
The YouGov survey shows that 65% believe that bags which are both biodegradable and recyclable should be provided free of charge, and they should therefore be exempted from the levy
Michael Laurier, CEO of Symphony, stated: “Despite the 5p charge a large number of carrier bags will be supplied, and many of them could get out into the open environment where they could lie or float around for decades. It is not good enough for them to be recyclable – they must also be biodegradable. Symphony’s d2w technology included at manufacture turns a plastic carrier bag at the end of its useful life into biodegradable materials which can be bio-assimilated in the open environment faster than straw and twigs and much faster than ordinary or recycled plastic. If collected during its useful life it can be recycled.”
A Life-cycle Assessment performed by Intertek in 2012 shows that oxo-biodegradable plastic has the best environmental credentials of all types of shopping bag.