Rewe pulls ‘deceptive’ bio-bags from shops

Supermarket giant Rewe has pulled its "100% biodegradable" bags from shops after an environment organisation called them a "particularly cheeky case of consumer deception."

Rewe pulls 'deceptive' bio-bags from shops
Photo: DPA

Germany’s second largest supermarket bowed to mounting pressure on Thursday in the wake of a campaign by environmental group Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) against the bags.

It says they are 70 percent oil and 30 percent polyactic acid, take weeks to decompose and cannot even be recycled.

DUH says the bags have been causing problems when they end up in food waste recycling plants.

Food recycling plants take around six weeks to compost the food waste they receive. The bags arrive at the plant in their hundreds – mixed with food waste – as consumers are under the impression they are biodegradable.

But the DUH says they take twice as long to decompose than the rest of the waste and even then they don’t disappear completely – 10% remains in the compost.

“It is completely false to suggest to consumers that they’re doing something good for the environment (by using the bags),” Herbert Probst, who runs two compost plants and is head of the Soil and Compost Association of Northern Germany told the taz newspaper on Thursday.

Rewe has denied that the bags are not compostable – but decided to withdraw the bags anyway. This was to avoid further customer uncertainty over their environmental impact, a spokesman said on Thursday in Cologne.

Rewe feels misrepresented by DUH and defended the bags – which partially contain vegetable raw material – as “a first step towards using less fossil resources such as oil.”

Aldi, which also sells the bags, has not yet responded to DUH’s claims.

DADP/The Local/jlb

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Sweden Democrats threaten government crisis over biofuels obligation

The far-right Sweden Democrats are threatening to push Sweden's three-party ruling coalition into a political crisis as they fail to reach agreement over how drastically to cut the country's biofuels obligation, a key part in its plan to reduce emissions.

Sweden Democrats threaten government crisis over biofuels obligation

The party is claiming that a pledge in the Tidö Agreement calling for the biofuels obligation, or reduktionsplikt, to be cut to the “lowest EU level”, should mean that the amount of biofuels that must be blended into petrol and diesel and Sweden should be cut to close to zero, rather than to about half the current share, as suggested by ongoing EU negotiations. 

“We are being tough in the negotiations because of the power we have as the biggest party in this bloc,” Oscar Sjöstedt, the party’s finance spokesperson told TV4. “There is going to be a change at the end of the year that is going to be pretty significant and substantial, that I’m 99.9 percent certain about, otherwise we will have a government crisis.” 

The Liberal Party is pushing for a much less severe reduction, perhaps to a little more than half the current level, where 30.5 percent of all petrol and diesel must be biofuel. 

“We have signed up to a temporary reduction in the biofuels obligation, and it’s clear that that is what we are going to do, but zero is not an alternative for us,” the Liberal Party’s leader Johan Pehrson told TV4.

The decision to reduce the amount of biofuel in the mix at Swedish pumps has made it much more difficult for Sweden to meet its targets for emissions reductions, putting pressure on Pehrson’s colleague, Environment Minister Romina Pourmokhtari. 

Next Wednesday, Pourmokhtari will have to defend the extent to which her government’s policies have pushed Sweden away from being able to meet its 2045 target of net zero emissions when the The Swedish Climate Policy Council reports on the country’s progress towards its target.