Review of the 14th European Bioplastics Conference 2019

On the pulse of the bioplastics industry

Opening speech by Francois de Bie, Chairman of European Bioplastics at the 14th EUBP Conference 2019

The 14th European Bioplastics Conference took place on 3 and 4 of December 2019. Once again, the event lived up to its reputation as the leading business and networking platform for the global bioplastics industry. The event, with a strong focus on growth and innovation, was sold-out and brought together around 400 senior executives from across the bioplastics value chain, including brands, policy makers, academia, producers and NGOs.

In his opening speech, François de Bie, Chairman of European Bioplastics (EUBP), set the scene by reflecting on the highlights of the past year: “European Bioplastics and the entire bioplastics industry is looking back at yet another successful year with outstanding and inspiring innovations”, said de Bie. “It is a pivotal time for our industry as the European Union is serious in developing from a linear to a circular economy. This provides us with a unique growth opportunity. The new EU Commission recently announced a Green Deal for Europe and bioplastics will play a crucial role in helping to achieve it”, he added.

Werner Bosmans from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for the Environment explained the EU Commission’s policy by giving an outlook on its initiatives stemming from the Circular Economy Action Plan as well as the Plastics Strategy. Accordingly, it became clear that also under the new EU Commission, plastics remain to be high on the political agenda. The Commission aims at further developing the framework for bio-based as well as biodegradable and compostable plastics. Key activities, amongst others, will also include the Life-Cycle-Assessment of different feedstock alternatives for plastics, the development of preliminary criteria for the beneficial use of compostable plastics as well as a study on biodegradability in the open environment and one on agricultural plastics. Danone Water’s Philippe Diercxsens provided a differing industry perspective on the EU’s policy on plastics and emphasized the need for more coherence between the individual Commission activities.

In the further course of the conference, participants received an update on recent innovations in food packaging with a special focus on the benefits of compostable packaging material made of biopolymers. During a session on innovative materials, producers introduced their latest developments – ranging from footwear to cosmetics. As part of the brand owner session, a 100 percent recyclable bottle made of bio-HDPE and bio-TPE was presented by Damir Perkic, founder of BE O. “These product helps reducing single use bottles”, Perkic explained. The innovation manager at VAUDE, Clément Affholder, provided fascinating insights on the role of bioplastics in his company. The long-awaited Global Bioplastics Award of this year went to Bio4Self, a consortium of research institutes and companies collaborating on a project to develop self-reinforced composites based on PLA fibres.

In his presentation of this year’s Market Data 2019 Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of EUBP, stated: “In an increasingly environmentally conscious context, the global market for bioplastics is predicted to grow by more than 15 percent over the next five years“. “This trend is possible thanks to the steadily increasing demand for sustainable products by both consumers and brands alike and the continuous efforts of the bioplastics industry to develop innovative materials with improved properties and new functionalities” he added.

Around 400 participants from 230 companies and over 50 countries worldwide attended the European Bioplastics Conference, connecting and catching up on the latest developments and trends in the bioplastics industry. 36 companies showcased a diversity of the new products, materials, and applications at the exhibition. European Bioplastics extends a special thank you to the sponsors of this year’s conference: BASF, BE O, BIOTEC, Greensan, NatureWorks, Roquette, SILBO, Sukano and Total Corbion PLA, for their support.

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Impressions of the 14th European Bioplastics Conference 2019 in Berlin

Speakers at the 14th European Bioplastics Conference 2019:

Werner Bosmans (European Commission), Philippe Diercxsens (Danone Waters), Michael Carus (nova-Institute), Marcin Śpiewok (SILBO), Katedao Chavalitdamrong (PTT MCC), Enrico Nieddu (Mérieux NutriSciences), María Monedero (ITENE), Diego Torresan (BIO-ON), Jiabril Gigli (Saes Coated Films) Clément Affholder (VAUDE), Damir Perkic (BE O), Peter von den Kerkhoff (DuPont Tate & Lyle), Daniel Ganz (Sukano), Long Nguyen (AnPhat Holding), Bas Krins (Senbis Polymer Innovations), Stefano Facco (Novamont), Hasso von Pogrell (European Bioplastics), Ramani Narayan (Michigan State University), Stephen Wetmore (RSB), Irene Latorre (Covestro), Saskia Beuck (Covestro), Tomi Nyman (AFRY and Partner at Woodly), Milla-Mari Vastavuo (UPM Biofuels), Erwin Vink (NatureWorks), François de Bie (Total Corbion PLA), Stephan Kabasci (Fraunhofer UMSICHT), Tanja Narancic (University College Dublin), Jee Kwan Ng (IDIR Solutions), Zsuzsanna Üveges (Hungarian National Agriculture Research and Innovation Centre), Carmen Arndt (IfBB).

Exhibitors at the 14th European Bioplastics Conference 2019:

ADBioplastics, AGRANA, AIMPLAS, Arctic Biomaterials Oy, BASF, Bioplastics Magazine, BIOTEC, DENTTABS, DIN CERTCO Gesellschaft für Konformitätsbewertung, ECHO, ecoplus. Niederösterreichs Wirtschaftsagentur, EuropaBio/EFIB, FKuR Kunststoff, GREENSAN LIMITED, HEXPOL, IDIR Solutions, IfBB – Institute for Bioplastics and Biocomposites, IKT – Institut für Kunststofftechnik (Universiy of Stuttgart), Ingevity, ITENE, JRS – J. Rettenmeier & Söhne, LUND UNIVERSITY, Mérieux NutriScience, NatureWorks, NEN – Netherlands Standardization Institute, nova-Institute, Novamont, OWS, ProfiKomp Group, PTT MCC Biochem, SILBO, Silpakorn University, Stichting Biobased Delta, TECNARO, thinkstep, Total Corbion PLA, Trifilon, TÜV AUSTRIA BELGIUM, University of Nottingham, U.S. Pacific Nonwovers, Verbund kompostierbare Produkte.