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Italian plastics law "seriously flawed"

By PRW Staff
Posted 28 February 2013

Italy’s manufacturers of ‘compostable’ plastic bags should not be encouraged by a proposed ban on plastic carrier bags, except those tested as biodegradable, warned the Oxo-biodegradable Plastics Association (Opa) this week.

Opa claimed the legislative process covering the proposed ban was incomplete. It added that it would be “the wrong decision for Italy and the European Union (EU)”.

The association said the standard EN13432 – plastic bags tested to which are exempt from the proposed Italian ban – is a test for biodegradation in conditions found in industrial composting and did not account for packaging waste which may end up in the environment through uncontrolled means, eg as litter”.

Opa said the correct standard to use was ISO17556.

It claimed that the Italian legislation was “a device to give special benefits to the bio-based plastics companies, and in particular a large Italian company who plastic is made to comply with EN13432”.

In a statement Opa said the European Commission had issues with the proposals, while the UK and Germany had objected to Italy’s proposed decree, suggesting it would contravene EU law.

“Even if industrial composting was available, most composters will not accept mixed waste plastics such as shopping bags because they do not want to separate compostable from non-compostable plastic. 

“Further, when something is described as compostable consumers would think it can be converted into compost, but EN13432 requires it to convert into CO2 gas. You cannot therefore make compost from it – only CO2 gas,” Opa added.

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