Tesco’s retreat from the provision of oxo-biodegradables

The regrettable reaction by Tesco to unwarranted greenwash pressure and the uninformed, almost hysterical reactions from sections of the media, the general public and even a government sponsored quango, demonstrate just how poorly informed Tesco’s customers are when it comes to plastic bag issues in general and oxo-biodegradable bags in particular. They all need to read the Government sponsored report, entitled “Life Cycle assessment of Supermarket Carrier Bags” which clearly found that the much maligned supermarket check-out bag was, in fact, the “greenest” option from all the alternatives! This report, as was widely reported in the UK national press last February, found that a thin supermarket carrier bag is 171 times less damaging to the environment than a cotton bag, has less then one third of the CO2 emissions of a paper bag and that a thicker, reusable bag has to be used at least four times more to match the conventional bags’ low environmental impact. And the oxo-biodegradable bag option? Only marginally worse than the standard bag and this only due to the fact that they tested an ever-so-slightly heavier bag than that tested for the standard bag! Can we ignore the littering problem? Certainly not, and this is only addressed by oxo-biodegradable technology and certainly not helped by leaving it out! Problems with the technology? Tesco should look at alternative, more technically advanced products such as the ReverteTM range from Wells Plastics before abandoning their current excellent, earth friendly position. Despite the hysteria surrounding this subject, there appears to be a clear environmentally beneficial option; continue to provide oxo-biodegradable carrier bags!