UK industry body Bio-Based and Biodegradable Industries Association (BBIA) has today released a statement voicing its disagreement with Tesco ’s updated packaging guidelines, which outline what materials the company will accept as packaging.

Tesco’s guidelines were updated earlier this month with the aim of simplifying recycling for customers by reducing the use of certain materials in its packaging.

Tesco’s updated guidelines include listing all compostable materials under the red category, which are materials “not to be used as customers cannot easily recycle (UK)”. BBIA has responded to this, saying that it disagrees with Tesco’s decision.

BBIA released a statement, saying: “Whilst we understand Tesco’s desire to simplify what is a complex, international supply chain, we respectfully disagree with its choice. As the Plastics Pact (to which Tesco is a signatory) made clear in guidelines for the use of compostable materials, published on 6 February 2020, there are certain uses for which plastics are simply not suitable.”

BBIA’s statement says that less than 5% of plastic films in the UK are properly recycled and that the Plastics Pact aims to raise this to 7% by 2022.

It says: “Compostable films, therefore, are in exactly the same position as these materials relative to consumer choices: when a consumer takes them home and disposes of them, their choices are still going to be limited.

“The difference is that many compostable films can be easily home composted, while the 52 industrial composting plants in the UK will also accept them if they are collected and sent to these for treatment.”

The response also notes that many plastic films pollute food waste collection, which end up in soil and water.

The BBIA has asked Tesco to work with the BBIA and within Plastics Pact guidelines to help develop a collection infrastructure for compostables.