EU legislations to benefit use of compostable plastic bags

European institutions have recently adopted a legislative proposal amending the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD) that addresses the challenge of conventional single use plastic carrier bags consumption, and explicitly sanctions the actions of several member states that have already recognised the benefits of compostable bags.

Berlin-headquartered European Bioplastics lauds Green MEP Margrete Auken, the European Parliament’s lead negotiator for the legislation. Commenting on the binding EU rules on reducing plastic bag use, Auken stated that EU member states will have to take action to reduce plastic bag use but they will be able to choose how to do it by either introducing pricing for plastic bags or equally effective measures or they deliver on ambitious reduction targets.

The proposal is seen to push local member state level to formulate decision that is consistent with local infrastructure, practices, and markets. This is crucial, because it retroactively legalises national legislation of Member States like Italy and France. Both states have recognised the benefits that are achievable with biodegradable and compostable shopping bags, according to Francois de Bie, Chairman of European Bioplastics. These countries, he said, are pioneers in putting the decisive ecological advantages of such bags to good use. This means enhancing the separate collection of bio-waste, and thereby diverting it from landfill. In this context, European Bioplastics commends the endorsement of the EN13432 as the standard to certify biodegradation and the initiative to further improve biodegradability and compostability labelling for plastic carrier bags.

Describing oxo-biodegradable plastic bags as “hugely problematic”, Auken explained that these plastic bags worsen the litter problem by fragmenting into micro-plastics polluting the environment and hindering composting and recycling; European Bioplastics shares this view.

Meawnhile, de Bie is looking forward to that time when the oxo-degradable plastics will no longer be placed on the market. The European Parliament and Council requires for a report that will examine the impact of the use of oxo-degradable bags on the environment. The report, De Bie said, will clearly show that oxo-degradable plastics are not biodegradable and hence, do not qualify as an ecological solution.


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