Co-operative Food has said that biodegradable carrier bags should be used by consumers for dealing with food waste.
Following the British Plastics Federation saying that an exemption for biodegradable carrier bags from being part of the 5p levy proposed in England would be “catastrophic” for plastics recycling, the Co-operative Food said that biodegradable plastic bags can have their place.
It believes that compostable bags should be kept separate when sold and marketed for the purpose of acting as food waste caddy liners by the consumer.
The grocer is currently rolling out its programme of offering compostable carrier bags across the country for use as caddy liners once the goods have been taken home. It only introduces this in store once local authorities have launched food waste collections.
It also sells the bags while currently giving away the traditional polythene plastic bags for free, and believes that biodegradable bags should not be given an exemption from the levy.
Co-operative Food environment manager Iain Ferguson said: “We are currently the only major UK retailer to sell compostable carrier bags.
“In common with other major retailers, we also recycle carrier bags at front of store. I am aware of the concern expressed by the recycling industry about the potential for contamination.
“However, we make sure that our bags are carefully labelled and easily recognisable, both for customers and collection crews. As we sell the bags for 6p each and promote them for food waste collection (where local authorities accept them), we do not foresee the concern about contamination being realised.
“In our experience, customers buy the bags for the end use intended. This is borne out by our finding none of these bags in our own polythene recycling stream.”