Critics of oxo-bio hit back at ‘no evidence’ claims
By Hamish Champ
Posted 24 October 2011 9:51 am GMT
An organization involved with a University of Loughborough report into oxo-biodegradable materials has rejected claims that its conclusions were not supported by evidence.
Dr John Williams, head of materials and energy at the NNFCC, the UK’s National Centre for Biorenewable Energy, Fuels and Materials, said he was “disappointed but not surprised” to read of a recent attack on the Loughborough report in PRW by companies involved in the manufacture of oxo-biodegradable materials.
“The Loughborough report was peer reviewed and checked by the chief scientist of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA),” he said.
The report, commissioned by the then-Labour government and published in March 2010, argued that “some plastics marked as degradable might not be as environmentally-friendly as consumers think”.
However recent criticism of the document by three companies which manufacture oxo-biodegradable materials prompted Williams to defend its findings.
“It is to be expected that any industry group will disagree with a report that does not support their view. The Loughborough report set out to with one aim, to find independent, verifiable evidence for the claims made by oxo-degradable material manufacturers and could not find any,” he said.
Williams added: “The fact that oxodegradable manufacturers have produced their own scientific dossier is meaningless without independent supporting evidence and this was not provided when asked for.”
Dr Williams’ comments followed the publication of a scientific dossier compiled by Symphony Environmental, EPI and Wells Plastics and published on their respective websites.
In a joint statement issued earlier this month the three firms argued that the Loughborough research team “had no expertise” in the field of oxo-biodegradable plastic technology.
However the NNFCC, which said it persuaded supermarket giant Tesco to stop using plastic bags made of ox-biodegradable material earlier this year, rejected this and counter-argued that it was the oxo-biodegradable industry that had yet to table peer-reviewed evidence for its own claims.