A new British standard for biodegradable plastic has been issued

Plastic products, including cosmetics, that claim to be biodegradable, must be able to verify their claims in real-world conditions

A new UK standard for biodegradable plastic has been published in efforts to tackle the global waste crisis.

Plastic packaging that claims to be biodegradable can now be verified via a new benchmark from the British Standards Institution (BSI).

The standard, called PAS 9017 Plastics – Biodegradation of polyolefins in an open-air terrestrial environment– Specification, analyses whether the plastic breaks down into a harmless wax, that does not contain hazardous substances, under real-world soil conditions within two years.

PAS 9017 does not cover freshwater, marine, landfill and anaerobic environments of biodegradation.

The BSI claims it is the first standard for measuring the biodegradability of polyolefins, a common plastic frequently used in cosmetic packaging.

Scott Steedman, Director of Standards at BSI, said: “Tackling the global challenge of plastic waste requires imagination and innovation.

"New ideas need agreed, publicly available, independent standards to enable the delivery of trusted solutions by industry.

"PAS 9017 is the first stakeholder consensus on how to measure the biodegradability of polyolefins which will accelerate the verification of technologies for plastic biodegradation."

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