Skip to main content

Plastics: Biodegradability

Volume 471: debated on Tuesday 29 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to introduce a (a) quality assurance scheme and (b) kite mark for biodegradable plastics. (175742)

The Government have no plans for a new quality assurance scheme or kite mark for biodegradable plastics.

One of the main applications for biodegradable plastics in the UK at present is in packaging where agreed standards already exist. Since the development of the ED packaging regulations, the European standard for compostable and biodegradable packaging—EN 13432—has been adopted in the UK. BS EN 13427:2000 provides a framework within which this and four other standards (BS EN 13429, BS EN 13430, BS EN 13431, and BS EN 13432) may be used together to support a claim that packaging is in compliance with the essential requirements for it to be placed on the market, as required by the Directive

These standards ensure that a product is biodegradable, compostable, and safe. In order to gain certification to BS EN13432, the final product must be fully tested and approved. Only if it is certified under BS EN13432, is it acceptable for recovery through biological treatment under the UK packaging recovery note scheme.

There are a number of certification bodies across the EU. In the UK the main one is the Composting Association, which operates a certification scheme in partnership with the German certification body, Din Certco.