The New Plastics Economy, operated by The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, has released a formal report that oxo-degradable plastic packaging is not the solution to plastic pollution as it is reported to be. According to the report, there is mounting evidence to the contrary:
Oxo-degradable plastic packaging, including carrier bags, have in recent years been marketed as a solution to plastic pollution, with claims that such plastics, when they end up in land or aquatic environments, degrade into harmless residues within a period ranging from a few months to several years. However, a significant body of evidence indicates that oxo-degradable plastics simply fragment into small pieces, including microplastics, with the entire process of biodegradation into naturally occurring molecules requiring timescales often (far) in excess of those claimed by their manufacturers. The contribution of these plastics to microplastic pollution poses an environmental risk, particularly in the ocean. Furthermore, oxo-degradable plastics are not suited for effective long-term reuse, recycling at scale or composting.
Plastic pollution is one of a list of pressing issues confronting business, industry and wider society, with evidence mounting about the magnitude of pollution around the world. In recent months, for example, new scientific studies found increasing levels of plastic pollution in things like sea salt and beer, as well as tap water.