24 November 2015

Un report on marine litter – Biodegradable plastics assessed / Oxos pose a threat

New UNEP-report: Biodegradable plastics no help for decreasing the volume of plastic entering the oceans

Dear Members,

Yesterday, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) published a report on ‘Bioplastics and Marine Litter’, according to which an increased adoption of biodegradable plastics would not help to decrease the volume of plastic entering the oceans.

The report recognises that polymers, which biodegrade on land under favourable conditions also biodegrade in the marine environment. However, the report also states that this process is not calculable enough at this point in time and biodegradable plastics are not a solution to marine litter. Furthermore, the costs of using these materials, for example in fishing equipment, are to be considered.

All in all, the report is in line with EUBP’s position that we need standards and further research into biodegradation in the marine environment. The UNEP report is a good basis to further discuss this issue with relevant institutions.

The report also analyses the environmental impact of oxo-degradable plastics and warns that they pose a threat to the marine environment as their fragments remain in the ocean and can be ingested by marine organisms and facilitate the transport of harmful microbes.

The full report can be found here: http://unep.org/gpa/documents/publications/BiodegradablePlastics.pdf

If you would like more information on the implications of the UNEP report or EUBP’s position on this issue, please get in touch with Constance Ißbrücker at issbruecker@european-bioplastics.org or Kristy-Barbara Lange at lange@european-bioplastics.org.

Do not hesitate to contact us, if you have questions about this Newsflash.

Kind regards,
Hasso v. Pogrell
Managing Director

Source: European Bioplastics Newsflash, 2015-11-18.


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