UK’s first plastic bag recycler warns against boost for biodegradable bags


Government plans to give incentives to biodegradable plastic carrier bags could damage the recycling of conventional plastic bags, the UK’s first recycler of them has warned.

Defra has announced that it plans to introduce a 5p charge for plastic bags in the autumn of 2015, but may exempt biodegradable plastic bags.


PlasRecycle recently opened the UK’s first plant for post consumer plastic bags and film packaging and has warned against the Government giving this incentive to biodegradable bags.

Chief executive Duncan Grierson said: “The adoption of biodegradable bags would be disastrous for the plastics recycling sector.

“Scientific research shows that even 2 per cent contamination of the recycling stream by biodegradable materials will mean the recycled polymer’s characteristics will be significantly degraded and no longer useful.

“The Government is demanding big increases in the level of plastics recycling. If they encourage biodegradable plastics they will be shooting themselves in the foot and damaging the recycling sector and destroying the jobs already created.”