The EU’s commitment to the transition from a linear to a circular economy model in Europe has accelerated the momentum of growth of the bioplastics industry in Europe. Bioplastics play a key role in this transition by replacing fossil with renewable resources and by increasing recycling targets and waste management efficiency. Representing the interests of the bioplastics industry, European Bioplastics works closely with the EU institutions and relevant decision makers to ensure a legislative framework in Europe for bioplastics to thrive in.
The EU has started to acknowledge the many benefits of bio-based materials and just recently took a major step towards paving the way for bioplastics. At the beginning of 2018, the European institutions adopted a revised EU waste package that encourages Member States to support the use of bio-based materials for the production of packaging and to improve market conditions for such products. In addition, the mandatory separate collection of bio-waste will be ensured across Europe, facilitated by certified collection tools such as compostable bio-waste bags.
This development is a clear signal that Europe is committed to making the circular economy a reality and presents an important opportunity for the bioplastics industry across Europe, which continues to make substantial investments in R&D and new production capacities in Europe.
European top-level strategies supporting bioplastics
Supportive measures & level playing field needed
In order for bioplastics to unfold their full economic and environmental potential in Europe, a supportive legislative framework is needed to enable and promote the market for bio-based products. The young European bioplastics industry is still lacking a level playing field for the access to biomass as well as concrete regulatory measures to boost market penetration and ensure long-term investment security.
In particular, measures such as extended producer responsibility or product design rules connected to a minimum bio-based and recycled content in plastic products, or a carbon pricing mechanism to incorporate the external costs of climate change into product prices would help to boost bioplastics and to further stimulate production and development of bio-based materials in Europe. At the same time, measures to support biodegradable and compostable plastics in specific applications such as agricultural mulch films, fresh food packaging, biowaste bags, disposable catering items, tea bags or coffee capsules will help to make waste management more efficient, to reach the new increased recycling targets, and to reduce plastic leakage into the environment.