The head of Symphony Environmental Technologies has cast doubt on the fairness of Scotland’s “bag tax”, which came into effect yesterday (20 October), saying the Scottish government is acting unjustly.
Michael Laurier, CEO of Symphony Environmental Technologies, specialists in technology which makes plastic biodegradable, believes the Scottish government is acting unjustly in subjecting all plastic bags to a charge, without making any exceptions for biodegradable ones.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland yesterday (20 October), Laurier said: “The Irish bag tax, which is often quoted, was unjust and has been a failure by the overall yardstick of consumption of plastic. Once charges for bags started, the sale of plastic bin liners, immediately increased by almost 90 percent, as people found them an effective substitute.
Michael Laurier, Symphony Environmental Technologies – “Plastic bag users pay for their bags already in the cost of their groceries. The use of thicker, reusable bags instead of the lightweight plastic bags we have become used to is not really a safe option”
“The main reason for restricting plastic bag use is to reduce the amount of plastic litter, which can lie or float around in the environment for decades. This is a laudable aim, but the solution is not to charge for them, but to make them oxo-biodegradable, so that they will automatically degrade and then biodegrade if exposed to oxygen on land or water in a much shorter timespan.
The use of biodegradable plastic is already compulsory for bags and consumer packaging in 21 countries, according to Laurier, and in 9 of them oxo-biodegradable is mandatory. If collected, oxo-biodegradable plastic can be recycled with other oil-based plastics and (unlike vegetable-based plastic) will not generate methane if sent to landfill.
Laurier is urging Scottish consumers to object to the charge and to complain to their MSPs and their local shops.
“Plastic bag users pay for their bags already in the cost of their groceries,” he said, “The use of thicker, reusable bags instead of the lightweight plastic bags we have become used to is not really a safe option. Using this type of bag increases the potential for cross-contamination as harmful bacteria can build up in the bag, unless it is regularly disinfected. Several studies have already confirmed this, and Symphony is now offering an anti-microbial bag for life.”