REA among 40 signatories calling for Government to ban wrong kind of degradable plastic

The REA and its subsidiary REAL joined more than 40 major organisations calling on the Government to stop the sale on the UK market of plastic materials which require additives to degrade.

Other signatories to the open letter, published in The Telegraph newspaper yesterday, include supermarkets Waitrose, Co-op, Tesco and Aldi and environmental groups.

The letter follow news that the British Standards Institution (BSI) enacted a new specification (PAS9017) this month supporting the sale of such plastics. It calls on Government to follow the lead of the EU in banning similar oxo-degradable plastics from next year.


Read the full Daily Telegraph letter below:


‘From Blue Planet, to taxes on unrecycled plastic, and a plastic waste export ban, Britain has been a world leader in highlighting and tackling the plastic pollution crisis.

This month, however, the British Standards Institution (BSI) enacted a new specification (PAS9017) which supports the sale in the United Kingdom of plastic materials that require additives to degrade.

These plastics bear similarities to so-called oxo-degradable plastics, which will be banned across the EU from next year. These materials contain additives that accelerate the conversion of macroplastics into microplastics after months or years.

Evidence increasingly shows microplastics entering our food chain through animals, vegetables and fruit. The full health implications of this are unknown, as is the impact on soil health and biodiversity.

This does not solve the global problem of plastic pollution but worsens it. By misusing the term “biodegradable”, this plastic provides the public with a licence to litter.

Recycling facilities are unable to differentiate between conventional plastics and these doctored alternatives. This renders recycled plastic useless as it is contaminated with additives designed to degrade it.

Furthermore, British companies that take up these materials could find they are unable to export their products to the EU once the ban comes into force in 2021.

The United Kingdom voted for the EU ban when it was proposed in 2019. Failing to act now could turn Britain from a leader into a laggard in fighting the plastic crisis.

For these reasons, we call on the Government to protect our environment, our food production, and British business by banning these materials immediately.’


The full list of signatories includes:


James Bull, Head of Packaging – Tesco

Iain Ferguson, Environment Manager, Commercial Team – Food Policy – Co-op

Karen Graley, Partner & Manager, Packaging Innovation and Delivery – Waitrose

Chris McKenry, Project Director – ALDI

Philippa Arnold, Environmental Policy Advisor – National Farmers’ Union (NFU)

David Newman, Managing Director – Bio-based and Biodegradable Industries Association (BBIA)

Emily Nichols – The Association for Renewable Energy & Clean Technology

Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive – Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ABDA)

Jacob Hayler, Executive Director – Environmental Services Association (ESA)

Martin Kersh, Executive Director – Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA)

Sian Sutherland, Co-Founder – A Plastic Planet

Dr Adrian Higson, Company Director – NNFCC

Joan Edwards, Director of Marine Conservation and Public Affairs – The Wildlife Trusts

Paul Thompson, Stakeholder Engagement – REAL Ltd

Julie Williams, Chief Executive Officer – Butterfly Conservation

John Read, Founder – Clean Up Britain

Ellen Fay, Co-Founder– Sustainable Soils Alliance

Christina Dixon, Environmental Investigation Agency

Gary Lee – TIPA

Ian Bates, Chief Executive Officer – Reelbrands Group

Kieran MacSweeney – BIOTEC

Katharina Schegel – BASF

Tony Breton – Novamont

Harold Naylor, Co-Founder – The Compost Bag Company

Andy Sweetman – FUTAMURA

Lucy Frankel, Environmental and Communications Director – Vegware

Josie Morris, Managing Director – Woolcool

Maria Giovanna Vetere – NatureWorks

Paul Mines, Chief Executive Officer – Biome Bioplastics

Kevin Clarke, Managing Director – KCC Packaging

Mark Shaw – Parkside

Bowen Tan – Pujing Chemical Industry

John Scott, Managing Director – Planglow

Bill Swan, Managing Director – BPR Group

Stuart Foster, Chief Executive Officer – RECOUP

Michele Giovoni, UK Branch Managing Director – Fabbri Group

Karen Scofield, Chief Executive Officer – Seal Oceanium

Ana Svab, Corporate Responsibility Manager & Simon Mussett, Head of Waste Management – Sodexo

Carmen Michels – Fkur

Graham Whitchurch – Solutions 4 plastic

Mark Bustard – The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC)

Steven Pritchard – Fuchs Oil

Darcey Crownshaw – Snow Business

Stuart Ball – Absolute Management & Marketing (AMM)



For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Suzanne Heneghan
PR and Communications Manager, REA

07487 229914
[email protected]

About the REA

The REA is the UK’s largest trade association for renewable energy and clean technologies with around 550 members operating across heat, transport, power and the Circular Economy. The REA is a not-for-profit organisation that represents renewable energy and clean technology companies operating in over fourteen sectors, ranging from biogas and renewable fuels to solar and electric vehicle charging. Membership ranges from major multinationals to sole traders.