Oxo-degradable plastics are being produced and sold in many countries, with society being led to believe that they completely biodegrade in the environment within relatively short timescales. Yet compelling evidence suggests that oxo-degradable plastics take longer than claimed to degrade and that they fragment into small pieces which contribute to microplastics pollution. Over 150 organisations worldwide endorse this statement that proposes banning oxo-degradable plastic packaging worldwide.
Signatories range from leading businesses, industry associations, NGOs, scientists, and elected officials. They include M&S, PepsiCo, Unilever, Veolia, British Plastics Federation Recycling Group, Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association, Packaging South Africa, Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Plymouth Marine Laboratory, and ten Members of the European Parliament.
To create a plastics system that works, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative, together with the signing organisations, supports innovation that designs out waste and pollution, and keeps products and materials in high-value use in line with the principles of a circular economy.
This report was originally published on 6 November 2017. In June 2018 the report was temporarily removed whilst the Foundation investigated queries raised by a third party. Having fully considered these queries and reviewed the evidence available to date, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s view continues to be that a precautionary approach should be adopted and oxo-degradable plastics should be banned until further detailed research is carried out on their behaviour in real world environments.