The European Commission will increase the funding for research and development of innovative bio-based plastics and to further improve plastic recycling. During the press conference on the European Strategy on Plastics earlier this month, the Commission’s Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said: “we are also ready to finance or increase financing for new innovations in recyclability and new oil-free raw materials. Horizon 2020 has already allocated 250 million Euros for this kind of innovative work, and we have decided to increase the ceiling with additional 100 million by 2020.“
Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President of the European Commission ©European Union, 2018, Source: EC-Audiovisual Service, Photo: Gaspare Dario Pignatelli
This is an important signal for the bioplastics industry in Europe, which is needed to drive continued change in the plastics industry towards an innovative, sustainable, and resource-efficient economy.
In the Communication of the Plastics Strategy, the Commission highlights that “alternative types of feedstock (e.g. bio-based plastics or plastics produced from carbon dioxide or methane), offering the same functionalities of traditional plastics with potentially lower environmental impacts […] at the moment represent a very small share of the market. Increasing the uptake of alternatives that according to solid evidence are more sustainable can also help decrease our dependency on fossil fuels.”
The Commission’s commitment to supporting the development and scaling up of alternative bio-based feedstocks for plastics is crucial for a still young industry that offers substantial opportunities for innovation, jobs, and at the same time supporting the EU’s transition to a circular economy.