Government to develop standards for alternative plastics

The government is seeking evidence to develop standards for biodegradable, compostable and bio-based plastics, and an understanding of their environmental impacts.

Government is calling for advice to identify gaps and provide expert advice on the overall sustainability of bio-based and biodegradable plastic products in comparison with those made from other materials.

This could include all aspects of a product’s life-cycle and will help in assessing whether technical standards or other related options are suitable mechanisms to add value for such products

It’s also seeking advice on existing relevant plastic degradation standards and how, or if, they might be promoted without any adverse effects to the environment and disposal routes.

Government will also look at the design and implementation of standards for biodegradable plastics to ensure that they “fully biodegrade in a reasonable time-frame in specified environments”.

In particular, it’s seeking views on:

  • environmental scientists interested in the movement of plastics and their interaction with natural ecosystems, working on biodegradable polymers, marine bio-degradative processes, and freshwater, marine, and terrestrial biologists
  • bioscience or biotechnology practitioners working on the development or application of bio-based or biodegradable plastics
  • standards authorities and those with standards committee experience
  • manufacturers, waste processors, and other stakeholders in industry
  • consumers and producers of biodegradable, compostable, and bio-based plastic products
  • certification authority experts, social scientists, NGOs, retailers and plastics re-processors

This consultation closes at 11:45pm on 14 October 2019.

The consultation follows the news that the government has allocated £60m investment in alternative plastic innovations.

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