Biobased industry group calls out UK supermarket chain for nixing compostables


In the United Kingdom, the Bio-based and Biodegradable Industries Association is urging supermarket chain Tesco to return compostable materials to its preferred packaging guidance for suppliers.

Tesco recently updated a preferred materials list for suppliers to help simplify its recycling. The list nixed compostable and biodegradable packaging, as it is difficult to recycled.

“Whilst we understand Tesco’s desire to simplify what is a complex, international supply chain, we respectfully disagree with its choice,” BBIA Managing Director David Newman tells

“It is obvious to any observer of the waste infrastructure in the UK and across the globe that almost all plastic films are currently not being collected for recycling nor effectively recycled. In fact, less than five percent of plastic films in the UK are sent for recycling with an ambition in the Plastics Pact to raise this to just seven percent by 2022. Compostable films, therefore, are in exactly the same position as these materials relative to consumer choices: when a consumer takes them home and disposes of them their choices are still going to be limited. The difference is that many compostable films can be easily home composted, while the 52 industrial composting plants in the UK will also accept them if they are collected and sent to these for treatment.”