UK stifles pro-plastic bag report?

By Anthony Clark | PLASTICS & RUBBER WEEKLY

LONDON (Feb. 22, 12:15 p.m. ET) — Single-use plastic bags aren’t the environmental disaster that many claim, according to a Feb. 20 report in the Independent on Sunday. The newspaper says it has seen unpublished government research that shows that plastic bags have a lower green impact than cotton or paper alternatives.

The UK newspaper claims to have had access to a draft Environment Agency document, Life Cycle Assessment of Supermarket Carrier Bags, which says that HDPE bags have less affect on the environment than many supposedly green alternatives.

Most damning of the 96-page report’s findings is that the so-called single use plastic bag is around 200 times less damaging to the environment than multi-use cotton bags favored by some green activists. Plastic bags also fared well when compared with paper options.

The report, carried out by Chris Edwards and Jonna Meyhoff Fry on behalf of the Environment Agency, is currently being peer reviewed, a process that has so far taken more than a year.

The Independent on Sunday carried a comment from Pafa chief executive, Barry Turner, in which he says: “They have tried to suppress things.” His comments are sure to ignite heated debate in the UK plastics industry, which has long pressed the government to rethink its attacks on plastic carrier bags.

Both Northern Ireland and Wales are planning to introduce a bag tax as part of a wider ‘green’ agenda. This report is certain to provide much-needed ammunition for the plastics and packaging industries to challenge the claims of the environmental lobby.

Source: Plastics News

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