Tesco, hands out over two billion disposable bags every year and the company is facing a major embarrassment over its use of biodegradable bags. It has recently come to light that these bags may actually be worse for the environment than the old bags. Tesco has always used the bags as the pinnacle of the firms anti-litter campaigning.
Government funded research has found that the new type of bag may be more harmful to the environment. Tesco is now discontinuing use of the bags after five years. The average plastic bag is used for only 20 minutes but can take a millennium to decompose; the new bags were touted to decompose in around two years. Tesco is now using bags that are not biodegradable, but are partly made from recycled materials. There has been no official announcement by Tesco and they continue to say they are using biodegradable bags on the company website.
With this failure Tesco is now having to take other measures to help stop bags going to landfill or just littering the countryside. The study has come from experts at Loughborough University and has said that the bags do not break down in the time Tesco claims. The study says this is because they are not exposed to enough sunlight to decompose, if they are, the bags crumble into a fine dust. An added problem of these biodegradable bags is that they cannot be recycled.
The experts have said, “producers of these bags say they are beneficial to the environment, but this is not always the truth. The particles of plastic that the bag create may be consumed by animals, birds, fish and invertebrates and cause them harm.”