After France and Spain implemented actions in 2017 to limit the production, distribution, sale, provision and utilization of packaging or bags made from oxo-degradable plastics – conventional plastics that falsely claim to biodegrade – the Netherlands now, too, has announced plans for a complete ban of oxo-degradable plastics.
“A ban on oxo-plastics that fall apart into microplastics is an important step in the fight against pollution,” said Suzanne Kröger, Member of the Dutch Parliament and GroenLinks, the party that submitted the proposal in the Lower House.
The announcement followed a report by the European Commission earlier in January this year announcing plans to restrict the use of these materials in Europe.
The use of oxo-degradable plastics for bags, bottles and labels is on the rise in different areas of the world. Made from conventional, fossil-based polymers to which chemical additives are added to promote degradation, these plastics disintegrate at an accelerated rate following exposure to UV-light, oxygen or heat.
The key word in this context is ‘disintegrate’: rather than undergoing biodegradation, these materials fragment into tiny pieces that can accumulate as microplastics in the environment.
The Netherlands supports a full ban, rather than the restricted use proposed by the Commission. “If it is no longer allowed to be produced, it will no longer be able to find its way into our environment,” said Kröger.