Exposing failed manifestos: no ideas to fix "striking" plastic catastrophe

2 July 2024

the UK General Election now only days away, detailed analysis of the Party Manifestos shows that the UK will be condemned to continued virtue-signalling and ineffective “Reduce, Renew, Recycle” policies to deal with plastic which escapes into the open environment, instead of the practical steps needed to drastically reduce its impact.   This is according to Symphony Environmental Technologies Plc, the specialists in biodegradable plastics.

Michael Laurier, CEO of Symphony Environmental, said: “What is striking about the manifestos is that the political Parties make little or no comment on the issue of waste management, especially when it comes to plastic - given its high profile.

“And why is this so important? Because not one of the Parties is looking at plastics in the round and developing clear thinking and innovative ways of dealing with it. You would expect the Greens to be concerned, but the Greens manifesto doesn’t mention plastics at all” continued Laurier.

“The Conservative Party goes into detail on a number of environmental initiatives, but again, no idea how to prevent plastic waste in the oceans from accumulating there for decades. Labour is no better. Finally, Reform which would scrap Net Zero targets and promote nuclear energy, makes no reference at all to plastic waste management.

“The one party that has made a rather generalised policy commitment The Liberal Democrats wants to “tackle plastic pollution and waste and get Britain recycling.” They want to eliminate non-recyclable single-use plastics and replace them with affordable alternatives, but this risks promoting a change toward materials which are not really suitable for the job, and have a much worse LCA.”

“None of the Parties seem to be aware that there is a solution available today” – says Laurier. “This is to make the plastic with biodegradable technology such as d2w so that if it escapes into the environment it will quickly become biodegradable and be removed from the eco-system, leaving no microplastics or harmful residues.  This is NOT the type of plastic advertised as “compostable” which is designed to be taken to a composting facility, where it converts into CO2 gas, not into compost.

“What is really needed here in the UK is an adult conversation with the electorate.  We need to have the benefits of plastic – be that for packaging or anything else – but we need to look at how it is manufactured in the first place.  While the Conservative government have been prevaricating about this for the past 14 years, and the Labour government before them, thousands of tons of ordinary plastic have escaped into the open environment, where they will lie or float around for many decades.

The EU is even worse, as the Environment Committee of the European Parliament has allowed itself to be persuaded by lobbyists to ban “oxo-degradable” plastic.  This is not the same as oxo-biodegradable plastic, but the resulting confusion has delayed the adoption of d2w technology in Europe. The newly-elected Parliament needs to think again.

“The situation is completely different in the Middle East, where governments have made it compulsory to use technology such as d2w, and where they no longer have plastic which accumulates in their environment.   Even in Yemen, which has many problems to contend with – not least the Houthis – they still care about their environment, and have mandated the use of d2w in all future plastics production. They are following the lead already given in the region by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE.”

Laurier concluded: "While plastic still provides the best material for many applications, it must be produced sustainably to avoid harming the planet. Using biodegradable technology can be a great way to tackle these problems and work toward a more sustainable future."

About Symphony Environmental Technologies plc

Symphony is listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange and has a diverse and growing customer-base with over 70 distributors around the world. Products made with Symphony's plastic technologies are now available in nearly 100 countries and in many different product applications. Symphony itself is accredited to ISO9001 and ISO14001.

Symphony is a founder-member of The BPA and participates in the Committee work of the British Standards Institute (BSI), the American Standards Organisation (ASTM), the European Standards Organisation (CEN), and the International Standards Organisation (ISO).

Further information on the Group can be found on Twitter @SymphonyEnv   and Linkedin. See also Symphony on Instagram. A Symphony App is available for downloading to smartphones.