Efficient waste management is key to the European Commission’s flagship policy of a resource efficient Europe and its vision of a circular bioeconomy. Yet, today, the waste management infrastructure still varies immensely within the EU.
In the European Union Waste Framework Directive a waste hierarchy has been defined in five steps according to their desirability: 1) prevention; 2) preparation for re-use; 3) recycling; 4) other recovery options, such as energy recovery; and 5) disposal. The goal is to conserve resources as best possible.
With increasing recycling targets and a gradual phase-out of landfilling, Europe is on the road to fulfilling its efficiency targets and realising a true ‘closed loop’ economy. Bioplastics can contribute to this development on different levels.
Based on renewable feedstock, bioplastics spare fossil resources and offer great potential for reducing greenhouse emissions. When it comes to waste management options, it is important to note that bioplastics include a whole family of different materials. They can be treated in various established recycling and recovery streams, and offer additional options such as organic recycling (composting).