In a letter to Defra, the oxo-biodegradable additive specialist said that if the Government decides to impose a levy on plastic carrier bags in England, and exempts oxo-biodegradable plastic from the levy, Symphony would accept for recycling all the oxo-biodegradable and conventional shopping bags which have been collected in England for recycling.

The news follows concerns that collections of oxo-biodegradable plastic bags will lead to contamination of traditional recycling streams and affect the quality of recyclate.

Speaking to edie sister title, LAWR, Symphony Environmental director Michael Stephen said: “There is scientific evidence that oxo-biodegradable plastics can be successfully recycled in the conventional plastic waste stream.”

He also said that recyclers should not fear that oxo-biodegradable plastics will contaminate the waste stream. He added: “I do not understand why they have these fears.” The company is still waiting to hear from Defra.

In September, Nick Clegg confirmed that England is to follow Wales and Northern Ireland in introducing a 5p levy on single-use plastic bags. However, the charge will not be introduced until after the 2015 election.

Customers will be charged 5p at the point of purchase for each bag used. The levy will only apply to supermarkets and larger stores employing more than 250 staff and all proceeds will be donated to charity.

Liz Gyekye

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie