According to packaging guidelines issued by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), official London 2012 licensees, shops and suppliers will use plastic bags made form low density polyethylene (LDPE).

The move has been criticised by the London Assembly and follows in the wake of today’s scandal involving a hoax story which was posted on a fake LOCOG website which claimed BP had been axed as a sustainability partner for the games.

Although LDPE can be recycled at end-of-life, the guidelines also state that this type of plastic requires specialist reprocessing facilities and, according to London Mayor Boris Johnson, are rarely collected at kerbside or at recycling centres.

The Mayor has also previously said that he hoped to make London a ‘plastic bag free city’ by the 2012 Olympics.

The London Assembly’s environment committee deputy chair Darren Johnson is concerned by the move.

“It’s very worrying that LOCOG shops will be handing out plastic bags that are not easy to recycle. The reality is these are bog standard plastic bags however you dress it up,” he said.

He added that he didn’t see how LOCOG’s commitment to a zero waste games could be delivered when thousands of bags would be handed out that might prove difficult to recycle.

Maxine Perella

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