NNFCC joins 43 other signatories in open letter to UK government

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NNFCC joins 43 other signatories in open letter to UK government.

This October, the British Standards Institute enacted a new specification, supporting the use of plastics containing additives to degradation. These plastics stand to exacerbate the global issue of microplastics and plastic pollution. As a result, NNFCC has jointly signed an open letter to the UK government calling for the immediate banning of these materials. 

22nd October, 2020:

'From Blue Planet, to taxes on unrecycled plastic, and a plastic waste export ban, Britain has been a world leader in highlighting and tackling the plastic pollution crisis.

Yet this month (October) the British Standards Institution (BSI) enacted a new specification (PAS9017) which supports plastic materials which require additives to degrade to be sold on the UK market.

These plastics bear remarkable similarities to oxo-degradable plastics which will be banned across the EU from next year. These materials contain additives that accelerate the conversion of macroplastics into microplastics after months or years of laying in the open.

Increasing evidence is showing microplastics entering our food chain through animals, fruits and vegetables. The full health implications of this are yet unknown, as are the cascading impacts on soil health and biodiversity.

This does not solve the global problem of plastic pollution but worsens it and by misusing the term biodegradable, this plastic provides the public with a licence to litter.

Recycling facilities are unable to differentiate between conventional plastics and these doctored alternatives. This renders recycled plastic useless as it is contaminated with additives designed to degrade it.

This plastic will also find its way into composting and biogas facilities, causing severe financial damage to the sector, and make it harder to produce high quality composts and biofertilisers.

Furthermore, British companies that take up these materials could find they are unable to export their products to the EU once the ban comes into force in 2021.

The UK voted for the EU ban when it was proposed in 2019. Failing to act now could turn Britain from a leader into a laggard in fighting the plastic crisis.

For these reasons, we call on the Government to protect our environment, protect our food production, and protect British business by banning these materials immediately.'

For more information:

For More Information Contact:
Polly Marsh, Higginson Strategy
polly@higginsonstrategy.com / 07966268902 

Signatories of the press release:

  • Tesco – James Bull, Head of Packaging
  • Co-op - Iain Ferguson, Environment Manager, Commercial Team – Food Policy
  • Waitrose - Karen Graley, Partner & Manager, Packaging Innovation and Delivery
  • ALDI - Chris McKenry, Project Director
  • National Farmers’ Union (NFU) – Philippa Arnold, Environmental Policy Advisor
  • Renewable Energy Association - Emily Nichols
  • Bio-based and Biodegradable Industries Association (BBIA) – David Newman, Managing Director
  • Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ABDA) - Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive
  • Environmental Services Association (ESA) - Jacob Hayler, Executive Director
  • Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA) – Martin Kersh, Executive Director
  • A Plastic Planet – Sian Sutherland, Co-Founder
  • NNFCC - Dr Adrian Higson, Company Director
  • The Wildlife Trusts - Joan Edwards, Director of Marine Conservation and Public Affairs
  • REAL Ltd – Paul Thompson, Stakeholder Engagement
  • Butterfly Conservation – Julie Williams, Chief Executive Officer
  • Clean Up Britain - John Read, Founder
  • Environmental Investigation Agency – Christina Dixon
  • Reelbrands Group - Ian Bates, Chief Executive Officer
  • BIOTEC - Kieran MacSweeney
  • BASF - Katharina Schegel
  • Novamont - Tony Breton
  • The Compost Bag Company - Harold Naylor, Co-Founder
  • FUTAMURA - Andy Sweetman
  • Vegware - Lucy Frankel, Environmental and Communications Director
  • Woolcool - Josie Morris, Managing Director
  • NatureWorks - Maria Giovanna Vetere
  • Biome Bioplastics - Paul Mines, Chief Executive Officer
  • KCC Packaging - Kevin Clarke, Managing Director
  • TIPA - Gary Lee
  • Parkside - Mark Shaw
  • Pujing Chemical Industry - Bowen Tan
  • Planglow - John Scott, Managing Director
  • BPR Group - Bill Swan, Managing Director
  • RECOUP - Stuart Foster, Chief Executive Officer
  • Fabbri Group - Michele Giovoni, UK Branch Managing Director
  • Seal Oceanium - Karen Scofield, Chief Executive Officer
  • Sodexo – Ana Svab, Corporate Responsibility Manager & Simon Mussett, Head of Waste Management
  • Fkur - Carmen Michels
  • Solutions 4 plastic - Graham Whitchurch
  • The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) - Mark Bustard
  • Fuchs Oil - Steven Pritchard
  • Snow Business - Darcey Crownshaw
  • Absolute Management & Marketing (AMM) -Stuart Ball 
  • Floreon - Andrew Gill​