European Bioplastics (EUBP)’s new Policy Manifesto urges the European Union to lay out a Biopolymers Industrial Action Plan and drive the growth of the bioplastics industry – suggesting that it establish harmonized regulatory framework, introduce market incentives, and drive consumer awareness of its environmental benefits.
According to EUBP, developing an actionable EU Bioeconomy Strategy should be a priority in the next EU policy cycle. Its creation is set to support a ‘strong industrial base’ for biopolymers.
“Bioplastics have the potential to play a significant role in reducing the environmental impact of plastics,” says Hasso von Pogrell, managing director of EUBP. “However, the industry needs a clear and supportive policy framework to reach its full potential.”
As such, EUBP calls upon the future Commission and co-legislators to create a Biopolymers Industrial Action Plan that takes steps to harmonize regulations.
Even though the bioeconomy is said to be gaining political support, the current EU regulatory framework is not thought to offer consistent guidance on bioeconomy concepts and priorities; if this were to be streamlined, EUBP hopes that a fair and level playing field could be established for bioplastics.
Furthermore, the EU is encouraged to balance both bioenergy and biobased products when incentivizing access to sustainable biomass, as well as increase financial support for technical innovation to scale up manufacturing processes for bioplastics and create the necessary environment for further innovations to arise.
The Manifesto highlights the role of robust mechanical, chemical, and organic recycling infrastructure, and the importance of access to all three, in pursuing a circular economy for bioplastics. It says that investments should be made to improve the collection, sorting, and recycling of food waste, closing gaps in infrastructure and incentivizing access along the way.
To ensure that industry players do not look elsewhere for return on public and private investment, EUBP asserts that the EU should introduce incentives in Europe to increase market uptake and, once again, create a level playing field for biobased, biodegradable, and compostable plastics.
Consumers should also be made aware of the environmental benefits of biobased or compostable alternatives, the Manifesto concludes. Increasing consumer awareness is anticipated to help drive demand for bioplastics in the European market.
A range of stakeholders – including bioplastics producers, converters, and end-users – have backed the Manifesto, EUBP reports.
“We are calling on the EU to seize this opportunity to create a thriving bioplastics industry that will benefit the environment and the economy,” says Roberto Ferrigno, head of EU Affairs at EUBP.
The organization expresses its commitment to work alongside the EU and other stakeholders to develop and implement a Biopolymers Industrial Action Plan.
Back in 2022, EUBP anticipated that the global capacity of bioplastic production would increase by 4.7 million tonnes by 2027, reaching around 6.3 million tonnes in total.
Since then, Packaging Europe has spoken with Hasso von Pogrell about the positive implications of bioplastics, their potential applications, and the challenges that the future may hold.
EUBP was also among the signatories of a joint industry statement expressing concern about the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation’s references to ‘state-run producer responsibility organizations’. It is feared that such allusions could open legal loopholes and threaten the EU’s recycling targets and decarbonization goals.
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