Ancol Pet Products has told Pet Trade Xtra that the company objects to the ruling made by the Advertising Standards Authority that promotional material for its poop bags was misleading, and will be seeking further advice.
Sales director Sarah Lane said :"Although we provided the manufacturing data with regards to the bags being biodegradable, as a responsible supplier, we have decided to carry out testing on random batches of bags, to support the claim that they are biodegradable. The ASA ruled that our claim on the website, that the bags “make less impact on the environment” was misleading. The ruling does not apply to the bags themselves or the packaging, it applies purely the statement on the website, or any advertising material claiming that the bags “make less impact on the environment”
"Our bags are fit for purpose and biodegradable as stated and please see the data below to support this. We take this ruling very seriously, and pride ourselves on responsibly sourcing our products. As a family run business we are very aware of the environment and try to make positive contributions to helping the environment, one example of which is we installed solar panels to our warehouse and so now we are using only renewable energy in our day to day running of the business."
Manufacturing data and Ancol's comments sent to ASA:
We have carefully studied the report and the findings of your investigation. Here at Ancol Pet Products we are proud to be one of the only pet accessory suppliers to produce Bio-degradable bags. We have invested a lot of time and money into this range to ensure that our customers receive a quality bag and that the bags comply with the guidelines of being Bio-degradable.
Below I hope to explain the manufacturing technique we use and the reason why we feel this is the best option.
After studying your report it would appear that the issue is with the way the bags Bio-degrade.
“We consulted DEFRA over the topic of oxo-biodegradable plastics. We understood that oxo-biodegradable plastics degraded quicker in the open environment than conventional plastics. However, we also acknowledged that there were concerns that plastic fragments and smaller, microplastics were left behind, which could have a harmful effect on the open environment, and in particular marine life.“
It would appear our Bio-degradable bags are being reviewed and tested against Compostable standards, rather than Bio-degradable standards.
The definitions we have for reference for ‘compostable’ ‘degradable’ and ‘bio-degradable’ are:
- Degradable: The ability to break up into smaller pieces. Degradable packaging products will not break down into their natural organic components, just smaller pieces of the original product.
- Biodegradable: The prefix “bio” refers to the way in which a product will degrade, in this case, via a biological process, bacteria, fungi etc. The product will biodegrade into carbon dioxide, water and biomass from the action of naturally occurring microorganisms. Green waste is biodegradable.
- Compostable: A product biodegrades within a time frame of 4 to 6 months. Green waste is compostable.
We would class our bags as ‘biodegradeable’ and, more specifically ‘oxo-biodegradable’, falling in line with the definition below:
Oxo-biodegradable plastic, made from polymers such as PE (polyethylene), PP (polypropylene), and PS (polystyrene) containing extra ingredients (metal salts) and tested according to ASTM D6954 or BS8472 or AFNOR Accord T51-808 to degrade and biodegrade in the open environment. These salts catalyze the degradation process to speed it up so that OXO plastic will degrade abiotically at the end of its useful life in the presence of oxygen, much more quickly than ordinary plastic. It has then been converted into small-chain organic chemicals such as ketones, alcohols, carboxylic acids and low molecular mass hydrocarbon waxes which are no longer plastic and biodegradable by bacteria which are ubiquitous in the terrestrial and marine environments. The timescale for complete bio degradation at any time or place in the open environment is much shorter than for "conventional" plasticswhich, in normal environments, are very slow to biodegrade and cause large scale harm.
Plastic produced for our Poop Bags used D2W, meaning our Poop Bags fall into this category. For more information of D2W please check official website below: http://www.symphonyenvironmental.com/d2w/.
We are confident that our poop bags are fully biodegradable due to the addition of D2W. Whilst we have considered ‘compostable’ poop bags, we have found these have many disadvantages including:
- Compostable plastics rely on food stock, and space to grow food-stock.
- Compostable plastics can require industrial composting, meaning the high intensity and high temperatures that are not found on our customer’s compost heaps.
- If your bio-plastics end up in the recycling stream the materials that were meant to be recycled could become unstable, brittle, and useless. Bioplastic material might actually contaminate the recycling process if not separated from conventional plastics.
As we take all environmental and product quality issues very seriously we are in the process of conducting a recent accelerated degradation tests and will keep you updated. Unfortunately, we will not see the results for 6 – 8 weeks. This test is designed to accelerate the aging process so it can prove the bags Bio-degrade, as specified, we will of course share these results with you in due time.