Compostable and biodegradable plastics could add to marine pollution because there is no infrastructure in place to make sure they break down correctly.This is according to experts, who were warning the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee in the United Kingdom. The use of alternatives to plastic are being adopted by many food and drink companies and retailers. But experts giving evidence on the environment, food and rural affairs committee said the infrastructure required to deal with the new packaging was not in place. Moreover they stressed that there was a lack of consumer understanding about these alternatives.
Much of the compostable packaging produced only degrades in industrial composting facilities, rather than in home composting – but not all is sent to these facilities.The committee’s report called for a proposed plastic packaging tax – which will tax packaging with less than 30% recycled content in the UK – to have lower fees for higher levels of recycled material. It warned that the increasing use of alternatives to plastic, such as aluminium, glass, paper or compostable plastics, also had environmental impacts, potentially pushing up energy use and carbon emissions.