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Tesco Drops Biodegradable Bags

Tesco is eliminating a controversial type of additive which helped it to create biodegradable bags, according to news reports.

The U.K. supermarket giant told BusinessGreen that it no longer uses oxo-biodegradable additives (OBD) in its bags. A study backed by the country’s Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs suggested such bags could actually harm the environment.

Tesco’s replacement bags are not biodegradable, but do contain 15 percent recycled material, BusinessGreen said.

Rival supermaket chain the Co-operative stopped using OBD in its bags after the study came out, the website said, but Tesco continued to use the additives. Tesco handed out over two billion of the bags to customers last year.

A Tesco spokeswoman said the company stopped using the bags in February.

“We took the decision to remove the biodegradable additive because we believed it contributed towards them becoming weaker… and to help better promote their reuse and recycling at end of life,” the spokeswoman said.

“This decision was underpinned by a detailed review of the science, using external experts to help us understand the full life-cycle environmental impacts of our carrier bags.”

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3 thoughts on “Tesco Drops Biodegradable Bags

  1. Thank goodness for that! Degradable / oxodegradable bags such as this have caused confusion for far too long. The retailers should now focus on genuinely compostable bags accedited as such under BS EN13432:2000. These are the eco-friendly alternative to nasty plastic bags

  2. How about a radical approach like re-using bags? It helps when governments adopt rules to encourage re-use, such as requiring retailers to charge for bags rather than wrapping it into the business. In DC a 5 cent tax has led to an estimated decrease of roughly 50% in bags from the store http://www.governing.com/topics/economic-dev/Small-Bag-Tax-Big.html

    How about re-thinking packaging more generally? For example, Parisians carry their baguettes without any packaging.

  3. I’ve just noticed that those yellow shopping bags that come with the groceries at SM Supermarkets are now marked “BIODEGRADABLE. 100% degradable environmentally friendly bag”
    Well done!

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