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Plastic technology for natural recycling

Michael Stephen of the says Europe and the US should follow the lead of countries that have embraced oxo-biodegradation

Students cleaning up plastic waste that pollutes the beach in Ujong Blang village, Indonesia.




Students cleaning up plastic waste that pollutes the beach in Ujong Blang village, Indonesia.
Photograph: Zikri Maulana/REX/Shutterstock

Your article (Plastic plague: tiny particles can reach anywhere on the planet, say scientists, 16 April) says that “about 335m tonnes of plastic is produced each year, and while it degrades extremely slowly it can be broken into smaller and smaller pieces”. It adds that these pieces are now being blown around the world by the wind.

Perhaps one day there will be no plastic, but until then a way must be found to make it become biodegradable much more quickly, so that it can be recycled back into nature by naturally occurring bacteria and fungi.

In fact the technology is already available. It is called oxo-biodegradation, and it is required by law in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Pakistan and seven other countries whose governments have made an expert study and found that it does work, and creates no toxicity. It is time for Europe and the US to stop dithering and follow their example.
Michael Stephen
Chairman, Oxo-biodegradable Plastics Association