In response to the EU Plastics Strategy published by the European Commission earlier this year, the European Bioeconomy Alliance (EUBA) presented a discussion paper to the European Parliament and the Council of the EU to urge the institutions to underpin the Commission’s approach with concrete actions on how to realise the potential of bio-based plastics to contribute to driving innovation and sustainable development of the plastics industry.

Increasing recycled content in plastics is an important way to reduce dependence on virgin fossil carbon resources. However, alternative feedstocks, such as bio-based and renewable, should also be encouraged in order to decrease the dependency of the plastics industry on finite fossil carbon resources, and the future demand should be met by the most sustainable options available. EUBA believes that bio-based resources, underpinned by sound life-cycle assessments (e.g. Single Market for Green Products Initiative), can contribute greatly to the transition towards a low carbon circular bioeconomy.

In particular, EUBA urges the European institutions to consider the following measures to boost the uptake of bio-based plastics across Europe:

  • To promote the use of bio-based materials for the manufacture of packaging, and in particular
  • To work towards new, harmonised rules to ensure that by 2030, 10% of all plastic packaging materials placed on the EU market is bio-based;
  • To ensure that sustainability assessments for plastics feedstock (both fossil carbon and biobased) are on a level playing field;
  • To launch an EU wide pledging exercise to boost uptake of bio-based content with incentives to reward first movers;
  • To favour bio-based materials in public procurement; and
  • To develop support & investment programmes for biorefinery innovative technologies (R&D, pilot and flagship) to facilitate the bioeconomy as a whole and consequently also the bio-based plastics sector.

To read the full list of potential measures at EU and national level, have a look at EUBA’s full discussion paper.

The European Bioeconomy Alliance (EUBA) is an alliance of leading European organisations representing sectors active in the bioeconomy – agriculture, forestry, biotechnology, sugar, starch, vegetable oils, pulp and paper, bioplastics, renewable ethanol, and research & innovation. For a broader cross-sector approach, see EUBA’s policy asks for a circular bioeconomy.