14 Dezember 2020

Unique virtual gathering of bioplastics industry at 15th EUBP Conference

Bio-based and compostable plastics playing a big role in the European Union’s efforts to achieve a green circular economy

The 15th European Bioplastics (EUBP) Conference took place from 30 November to 3 December. Once again, having changed to a virtual format this year, the conference continued its success story as the leading business and networking platform for the global bioplastics industry. Online, EUBP welcomed over 350 participants from 36 countries. During four exciting days, stakeholders from across the bioplastics value chain, including political decision makers, producers, brands, academia, and NGOs, discussed what is moving the industry.

In his opening speech, François de Bie, Chairman of European Bioplastics (EUBP), set the scene by emphasizing the important role of bio-based and compostable plastics in the European Union’s efforts to achieve a green circular economy. “Many of the European Commission’s Green Deal initiatives touch upon plastics. Our industry provides important solutions that help to achieve a circular economy in Europe”, said de Bie. Stefan Haas, CEO of TÜV AUSTRIA, the main sponsor of this years’ conference, congratulated EUBP on its 15th edition and dedicated his welcome address to the importance of safety standards: “Safety and security are strongly connected with sustainability. There will be no safe and secure world in the future if we don’t take care of sustainability”, TIC Council Vice-President Haas postulated.

During the subsequent policy session, experts from the European Parliament, European Commission, and the private sector discussed the role of bioplastics in the European Union’s process towards a circular economy. “Bioplastics can play a crucial role in delivering innovation, and we have to create a stable market for them”, said MEP Maria Spyraki. A clear legal framework was seen as paramount by the panellists to ensure reliability in decision-making, not only for the bioplastics industry but for the whole bioeconomy. There was also general agreement that a real system change towards a circular economy would require the involvement of everyone along the supply chain. Consumers were identified as an important driver of change. The need for sufficient and efficient research funding was another important finding, which was also an integral topic in many other conference sessions. “We need more research funding, and we have to streamline this investment for innovation to achieve a circular economy”, said MEP Spyraki.

Further panel discussions showed that the industry has made strong progress in explaining the appropriate end-of-life options for the treatment of bioplastic products. Composting and mechanical or chemical recycling are understood as complementary solutions, depending on the respective application. The new EUBP market data confirmed that the bioplastics industry successfully weathered the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. With a predicted growth rate of 36 percent over the next 5 years, bioplastics continue to become mainstream. The vivid discussions around life cycle assessment emphasized the complexity of the field as well as the challenge of communicating the many different value propositions of bioplastics.

Over 350 participants from 36 countries attended the EUBP Conference representing all stakeholder groups along the value chain of bioplastics. With 12 sessions at the second conference stage and 23 exhibitors representing at the virtual exhibition hall, companies and institutions were able to showcase the high diversity of new products, materials, and applications.

European Bioplastics extends a special thank you to the sponsors of this year’s conference: AGRANA, BASF, CABAMIX, SUKANO and its main sponsor TÜV AUSTRIA.

Speakers and moderators at the 15th European Bioplastics Conference 2020:

Rafael Alonso Ruiz (AIMPLAS), Clémentine Arnault (Carbiolice), Floris Buijzen (Total Corbion PLA), Lars Börger (Neste), Michael Carus (nova-Institute), Patrizia Cinelli (Planet Bioplastics), Arnaud Claude (CABAMIX), Jarno Dakhorst (NEN), François de Bie (Total Corbion PLA), Doris de Guzman (Tecnon OrbiChem), Philippe Dewolfs (TÜV AUSTRIA), Joanna Dupont-Inglis (European Bioplastics), Paola Fabbri (University of Bologna), Enzo Favoino (Zero Waste Europe), Baudine Gevers Deynoot (Avantium), Stefan Haas (TÜV AUSTRIA), Andrej Holobar (ECHO), Constance Ißbrücker (European Bioplastics), Julia Koskella (SYSTEMIQ), Gottfried Krapfenbauer (AGRANA), Christian Lenges (DuPont Nutrition and Biosciences), Fabian Loske (Sphera Solutions), Silvia Maltagliati (European Commission), Piergiuseppe Morone (Unitelma – Sapienza University of Rome), Pranav Umesh Majgaonkar (Fraunhofer ICT), Nicola Noponen (RSB), Jan Patzer (Crafting Future), Maija Pohjakallio (Sulapac), Wouter Post (Wageningen University & Research), Francesco Razza (Novamont), Manfred Renner (Fraunhofer UMSICHT), Jöran Reske (INTERSEROH Dienstleistungs GmbH), Marco Ricci (CIC), Stephan Roest (Borealis), Marco Rupp (BIC), Ingo Sartorius (Plastics Europe), Katharina Schlegel (BASF), Christian Schulz (European Bioplastics), Andrea Siebert-Raths (IfBB), Maria Spyraki (European Parliament), Yorimasa Suwa (Japan BioPlastics Association), Eamonn Tighe (NatureWorks), Maarten van der Zee (Wageningen University & Research) Hasso von Pogrell (European Bioplastics), Michael Wolf (European Commission)

Exhibitors at the 15th European Bioplastics Conference 2020:

AGRANA, Arctic Biomaterials Ltd, BASF, BIOTEC, CABAMIX, DIN CERTCO Gesellschaft für Konformitätsbewertung, DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products, ECHO Instruments, European Bioplastics, FKuR Kunststoff, IKT – Institut für Kunststofftechnik (Universiy of Stuttgart), JRS – J. Rettenmaier & Söhne, NatureWorks, Novamont, OWS, Röchling Automotives, Sphera Solutions, SPHERE, SUKANO, Taghleef Industries, Total Corbion PLA, TÜV AUSTRIA, Verbund kompostierbare Produkte.

Source: European Bioplastics, press release, 2020-12-07.

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