The Oxo-Biodegradable Plastics Association (OPA) has released a response to the report made by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF), which suggests that oxo-biodegradable plastics (OBP) should be banned.
According to EMF and the 150 organisations who back it, OBP does not safely biodegrade naturally, and instead fragments and produces microplastic pollution and should instead be banned completely.
In response to EMF’s allegations, OPA has stated that OBP is a big upgrade from regular plastics, and ensures that if plastic litter escapes into the environment, it will change into biodegradable materials and not remain for decades like ordinary plastic does.
OPA has also criticised EMF for not fully examining the timescale of OBP, and has noted that although all plastics have a service-life before degrading, it is not necessary to know how long certain OBP items take to biodegrade.
It states within the report that the main argument is that OBP items are “in substitution for, not in addition to, conventional plastic items, and are therefore much more acceptable from an environmental point of view than conventional plastic.”
EMF provided an alternative to OBP called “bio-plastic”, however, OPA has argued within the report that this rival material is 400% more expensive, with 50%+ being made from petrol-chemicals, as well as it being unable to be recycled with ordinary plastics.
The Association has called EMF’s report “counter-productive and confusing” and believes that it is seeking to deprive the environment of the benefits of technology.
Eunomia consultants were appointed by the European Commission to report on OBP and have said: “The debate around the biodegradability of OBP is not finalised, but should move forward from the assertion that it merely fragments, towards confirming whether the timeframes observed for total biodegradation are acceptable from an environmental point of view and whether this is likely to take place in natural environments.”