Consultation soon on non-food crops strategy

A draft strategy on non-food uses of crops is being drawn up by the Environment Department and will be issued for consultation early in 2004, according to Environment Minister Elliot Morley.1

Last year, the Government-Industry Forum on Non-Food Uses of Crops urged the Government to encourage the production of industrial products from crops - although it was unable to provide a robust environmental justification for some of the products, particularly packaging (ENDS Report 332, p 33 ).

Mr Morley added that the Government has no plans to require fast food outlets to use only biodegradable packaging because degradable plastics made from mineral oil and designed for disposal are "counter to the aim of increasing recycling". In addition, when landfilled rather than composted, biodegradable waste breaks down to release methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

The same concern evidently does not extend to biodegradable plastics made from non-fossil sources. Even though they, too, release methane when landfilled, Mr Morley said that the Government supports their development.

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