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Wrap to clear up consumer confusion over 'green' packaging

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) wants to develop standards to aid the processing of "green" plastics packaging in the waste stream.

Wrap said that consistent "branding" of products using these materials would help consumers separate them, after it found that people were confused about the wide range of green materials on offer.

It also wants to develop guidelines for composting, both in the home and for collected waste, and to identify technologies for separating polymers of different origins and carry out life-cycle analyses where appropriate.

Wrap hopes to publish research into the environmental benefits of biopolymers compared with conventional plastics and recycled content plastic packaging later this year.

biopolymers environmental benefits

Executive director Phillip Ward said compostable packaging and biopolymers had "great potential", but it was "vital" to introduce them with the correct infrastructure so they could be properly disposed of.

Last year, Wrap surveyed more than 400 people across the UK and found that 52% had heard of biodegradable packaging, compared with 15% for compostable.

A quarter of those surveyed said they would recycle "compostable" packaging, compared with 44% who would put in the normal waste bin. Less than a fifth would compost it at home.

Wrap has also published a position statement on biopolymers to clarify definitions of some of the terms used to describe packaging materials and factors to consider regarding disposal and environmental impact.



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