The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Design has brought together 150 organisations to call for a ban on oxo-degradable plastics being produced.
According to the Foundation, oxo-degradable plastics do not safely biodegrade naturally, but instead break into small pieces, producing microplastic pollution.
The Foundation has said that this type of plastic is unsuitable for long-term reuse, recycling at scale and composting, due to fragmentation, unknown quantity of stabilisers added and release of plastics into the natural environment.
From this, the Foundation has said that oxo-degradable plastics goes against the circular economy factors of designing out waste and pollution, and maintain products in high-value reuse.
The solution provided by the organisation is to apply precautionary principles by banning oxo-degradable plastic packaging from the market, until research confirms sufficient biodegradation of the material in various environments.
They also suggest the creation of a system in which plastic packaging never becomes waste.
In a statement to the online publication TriplePundit, Ellen MacArthur Foundation member Rob Opsomer said: “The available evidence overwhelmingly suggests oxo-degradable plastics do not achieve what their producers claim and instead contribute to microplastic pollution.”
“In addition, these materials are not suited for effective long-term reuse, recycling at scale or composting, meaning they cannot be part of a circular economy.”
Some of the organisations that have backed this plan include M&S, PepsiCo, Unilever, Veolia, and British Plastics Federation Recycling Group.