Asda accuses rivals of misleading consumers

By Sarah Britton

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Anaerobic digestion

Asda accuses rivals of misleading consumers
Asda packaging buyer Shane Monkman has spoken out against retailers, such as Morrison and Sainsbury, which use biodegradable packaging....

Asda packaging buyer Shane Monkman has spoken out against retailers, such as Morrison and Sainsbury, which use biodegradable packaging.

“Biodegradable packaging is not the future. These products end up in landfill releasing methane gas,” he said. “We view its use as green-washing spin.”

The Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) empathised with Monkman. “I can completely understand where he is coming from,” said Mark Barthel, special advisor for WRAP's retail team. “He probably gets frustrated because he sees other retailers using new material, but not necessarily reducing the amount of packaging they use. Asda is more radical than other retailers and a growing proportion of their produce is loose.”

Barthel said it was fine for retailers to use biodegradable packaging, though he noted it would be “positively disastrous” in some applications. He said: “Less than 1% of PLA (a corn starch based biodegradable material) in a PET recycling stream would bugger it up by causing cloudy packaging.”

WRAP is about to publish a report on biodegradable and compostable packaging next month to explain to manufacturers, which are the best materials to use. “There are a lot of interesting materials coming through and we’re looking at what they are; how they can be applied; and their substitution potential,” he said.