“We warmly welcome the EU’s request to member states to support the use of bio-based materials in the manufacture of packaging and to improve the market conditions for such products.”
Bioplastics will help the EU to implement its environmental directives and help it to reduce the amount of waste it sends to landfill, according to German bioplastics company FKuR.
The company’s statement comes at a period when EU policymakers are currently making plans to formally approve the bloc’s Single-Use Plastics Directive, which forms part of its ‘Plastic Strategy’ and circular economy plans.
Commenting on the EU’s strategy for plastics in the circular economy, Patrick Zimmermann, Director of Sales and Marketing at FKuR (@fkurpolymers), said bioplastics had a key role to play in the implementation of the EU’s current environmental directives.
He explained: “Especially with drop-in bioplastics it is possible to implement sustainable concepts in two ways, firstly the bioplastic product itself is made from renewable raw materials and secondly, it can be recycled after use via existing recycling systems.
“Thus, not only are fossil resources saved but packaging, for example, can also become a valuable material for the manufacture of other products. Therefore, we warmly welcome the EU’s request to member states to support the use of bio-based materials in the manufacture of packaging and to improve the market conditions for such products.”
The main objective of the Single-Use Plastics Directive, which forms part of the EU’s ‘Plastics Strategy’ and circular economy package, is the prevention and reduction of plastic marine litter from single-use plastic items and fishing gear containing plastic. Under the Directive, items such as plastics straws, cotton swabs, disposable plastic plates and cutlery would be banned by 2021, and 90% of plastic bottles recycled by 2025.
In addition to this, under the Plastics Strategy, from 2030 all plastic packaging on the market will be recyclable and according to the European Commission “this systematic change and material substitution will also promote bio-based alternatives and an innovative bioeconomy, bringing new opportunities for businesses and improving consumer convenience”.
However, some critics of bioplastics from environmental groups say that companies should be embracing waste prevention and reduction before promoting the use of bioplastics. The critics also maintain that bioplastic manufacturers need access to feedstocks that are stable enough and consistent enough to give them the products that they need. Yet, they acknowledge that bioplastics can make a positive contribution if they can be recycled at their end of life.
Although the text has been approved for the Single-Use Directive, the European Parliament (@Europarl_EN)and the EU Council (@EUCouncil) are the co-legislators in charge of the official final approval. An EU Council spokeswoman told Bio Market Insights that the EU Council is set to finally adopt this by mid-April.
All in all, the EU’s Circular Economy Package, which was formally adopted in July 2018, is expected to pave the way for a resource-efficient society and sustainable recycling industry across Europe.
The bloc’s circular economy strategy also aims to boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable growth and generate new jobs across the EU. The transition from a linear economy to a circular one will require changes in the whole value chain, including changes to product design in order to identify new methods of turning waste into products, new business and market models and changes in consumer behaviour.
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