6 November 2013

European Commission‘s proposal to reduce consumption of plastic bags an important opportunity to promote bioplastic alternatives

European Bioplastics promoting measures for bioplastic alternatives in Member States  

Berlin, 04 November 2013. “Today’s proposal of the European Commission aiming to reduce the consumption of plastic carrier bags in the EU is an important first step in the direction of a more sustainable economy“, says François de Bie, Chairman of the association European Bioplastics in reaction to the paper presented today by Commissioner Janez Potočnik.

Keeping in mind the guiding principles of a circular economy and increased resource efficiency, the initiative today should also be the opportunity for legislators to promote biobased products, such as bioplastics. European Bioplastics recommends that the measures brought forward to reduce the consumption of plastic bags should also allow for flexibility in Member States when dealing with bioplastic shopping bags. Exempting bioplastics, due to their environmental performance, from any measures intended to reduce the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags should be considered.

European Bioplastics advocates the reduction of carrier bag consumption in general, and endorses the basic approach of the Commission’s proposal to amend the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD). This proposal allows Member States to derogate from Article 18 of the PPWD. European Bioplastics further advocates to consider specific promoting measures for bioplastic alternatives.

“Under this Directive, the Italian plastic bag law would be finally validated. This law banned fossil-based lightweight plastic carrier bags, and allows only single use bags that are compos- table according to EN 13432 to be utilised” adds de Bie. European Bioplastics supports also the exemption of biobased, non-biodegradable shopping bags, that contain at least 50 per- cent biobased content, from restricting market regulations. Promoting measures for bioplastic alternatives would address environmental issue and drive building a biobased economy at the same time.

The advantages of bioplastic shopping bags:

The biobased content of bioplastic shopping bags ensures that they have a lower carbon footprint than fossil-based bags, which helps to reduce CO2 emissions.

In countries where organic waste is collected, compostable bags can be used to collect or- ganic waste, making it a dual use bag. Studies have shown that compostable biowaste bags help to increase the amount of biowaste collected and improve the quality of compost. Dual use also reduces the number of bags that are thrown away or end up in landfill. In countries where plastic waste is recovered for recycling, the bioplastic shopping bags can be mechanically recycled into new plastic products. In countries where waste is incinerated, the biobased content contributes to the generation of renewable energy.

More Information

About European Bioplastics
European Bioplastics is the European association representing the interests of the industry along the complete bioplastics‘ value chain. Its members produce, refine and distribute bioplastics i.e. plastics that are either biobased, biodegradable, or both.

The original press release of the EU Commission you may find here.

Source: European Bioplastics, press release, 2013-11-04.

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