There are viable alternatives to fossil fuel based plastics, which are currently more expensive to produce. Industry-wide research published research from Kantar Worldpanel Survey in 2018 confirms that consumers are unwilling to pay more for this type of plastic packaging, but expect industry to take responsibility and design and manufacture using more environmentally responsible packaging materials.
- Biodegradable plastics are available. However, they are expensive and there is no household waste stream infrastructure to process them. Biodegradable plastics present a risk of contaminating the UK infrastructure’s current waste stream
- Biodegradable plastics manufactured from PLA can only be commercially recycled. PLA is primarily used for food products that contain moisture
- Biodegradable plastics manufactured from Plantic are home compostable. Households in high density areas are less likely to have these facilities, and could compromise the waste stream. Plantic can only be used for dry goods.
- An alternative long terms solution is PEF, a non-fossil field based plastic. This is in development, with potentially a 10-year NPD lead time before it can be commercially viable.