Bioplastics given a boost with reduction of plastics use in EU

The European Commission has recently come up with a proposal to reduce the consumption of plastic carrier bags in the EU, which it says is an important first step treading the direction to a more sustainable economy.

In reaction to the paper presented by Commissioner Janez Potočnik, François de Bie, Chairman of the Association European Bioplastics, says that the initiative should also be the opportunity for legislators to promote biobased products, such as bioplastics.

European Bioplastics recommends that the plastic bags use reduction should also allow for flexibility in Member States when dealing with bioplastic shopping bags.

European Bioplastics advocates the reduction of carrier bag consumption in general, and endorses the basic approach of the Commission’s proposal to amend the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD). This proposal allows Member States to derogate from Article 18 of the PPWD. Furthermore, it seeks to consider specific promoting measures for bioplastic alternatives.

“Under this directive, the Italian plastic bag law would be finally validated. This law banned fossil-based lightweight plastic carrier bags, and allows only single use bags that are compos- table according to EN 13432 to be utilised” adds de Bie. European Bioplastics supports also the exemption of biobased, non-biodegradable shopping bags, that contain at least 50% biobased content, from restricting market regulations. Promoting bioplastic alternatives would address environmental issue as well as promote a biobased economy.

Citing some of the advantages of bioplastic shopping bags, the Comission says that biobased content of bioplastic shopping bags has lower carbon footprint than fossil-based bags, which helps to reduce CO2 emissions.

In countries where organic waste is collected, compostable bags can be used to collect oraganic waste, making it a dual use bag. Studies have shown that compostable biowaste bags help to increase the amount of biowaste collected and improve the quality of compost. Dual use also reduces the number of bags that are thrown away or end up in landfill.

In countries where plastic waste is recovered for recycling, the bioplastic shopping bags can be mechanically recycled into new plastic products. In countries where waste is incinerated, the biobased content contributes to the generation of renewable energy.


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