UK: Tesco's new biodegradable packaging is rubbish, say environmental groups
Britain's largest supermarket chain, Tesco, is set to introduce decomposable packaging this month, a initiative which, it claims, could transform waste management across the country.
Bulk waste is generally burned or buried in huge toxic landfill sites, but Tesco's new "bio packs" decompose when exposed to wind, rain and air, turning into harmless garden waste. The bio-packs will be trialled on organic fruit and vegetable products to start with, but
Manufactured in Germany, the environmentally friendly packaging is fundamentally made of starch and consumers will learn how to dispose of their rubbish in special bins or traditional compost piles.
Leading the packaging project, Paul Bidwell told the Sunday Times: "This new type of biodegradable packaging breaks down into entirely natural matter in the open... Every part of the packet, from the cling film and containers to the label, decomposes quickly.
"The British climate is perfect for composting," he added.
Environmental groups are not welcoming the initiative with open arms, however, pointing out that the British public should not be encouraged to dump waste. Peter Gibson, from the Tidy Britain Group, told the Sunday Times that he feared the packaging would mean more littering: "We don't want the public to get the message that it's okay to dump rubbish on the streets because it will biodegrade. And accumulations of rubbish are the cause of a third of all fires."
Furthermore, other campaigners protest that if consumers treat the packaging as normal waste it will end up in landfill sites, decomposing without oxygen and producing plenty of methane, a gas that causes global warming more than 20 faster than carbon dioxide.
The supermarket-shopping boom is often blamed for the fact that refuge in Britain has doubled over the last twenty years, and every year, about 30m tons of household waste ends up in landfill sites.
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