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Sussex-based co-op Infinity Foods has released a statement around its stance on plastic packaging to offer a detailed answer to the question it is frequently asked: why is its own label range not packed in biodegradable or compostable material?

Designed to give some clarity on the co-op’s future packaging plans, the statement acknowledges that competitor brands are highlighting their packaging as compostable and states: “We are acutely aware that switching to a bio-plastic would potentially be a great marketing move but we want to make the right decision for our customers, ourselves and the planet. Therefore, after lengthy consultation with a wide range of packaging and recycling experts, we have decided that a switch to a biodegradable or compostable material would be a poor choice at the present.”

We are acutely aware that switching to a bio-plastic would potentially be a great marketing move but we want to make the right decision for our customers, ourselves and the planet.

The natural and organic wholesaler and retailer lists the reasons underpinning this decision as including the current limitations of UK recycling facilities; the fact that bio-plastics pollute oceans and won’t degrade in landfill or if they do they release the greenhouse gas methane; that bio-plastics shouldn’t be put in plastics recycling and can contaminate the waste stream; and that regular plastics use less energy in both production and transportation; and that industrially compostable bio-plastics are rarely composted and end up with standard waste.

With these issues in mind, the statement adds: “We would urge companies to make sure that all claims made about plastic alternatives are accurate.”

The co-op says that it has been researching alternative packaging materials for its own-label range for over a decade, and ends on a positive note, saying it is currently trialling a new packaging material that is 100% recyclable and already widely recycled in the UK and assuring customers it will remain open to changing its stance on bio-plastics should they become ‘a more meaningful option in the future’.

Photo credit: James French Photography

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About the Author

Jane Wolfe

Deputy Editor
Natural Products News deputy editor Jane Wolfe re-joined NPN in 2013 having previously worked for the magazine as a sub and freelance journalist from its Steyning beginnings.

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