Home NEWS European bioplastics criticizes biased interpretation of EEA study on biodegradable and compostable plastics

European bioplastics criticizes biased interpretation of EEA study on biodegradable and compostable plastics

by tecnoplast
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In response to the new report “Biodegradable and compostable plastics – challenges and opportunities” by the European Environment Agency (EEA), European Bioplastics (EUBP) highlights the need to acknowledge successful precedents in the deployment of these innovative materials in collaboration with a receptive community of consumers. Unfortunately, several media outlets made use of a biased interpretation of the report to draw a distorted picture of biodegradable and compostable plastics.

François de Bie, Chairman of EUBP, stated “In several respects, the EEA report is laudable in its objectives to provide information about the types of biodegradable products available, their labelling and their properties. It also accurately highlights the need to raise awareness about the different packaging solutions to ensure proper sorting and collection of waste”. In terms of additional benefits, the EEA correctly notes that contamination with conventional plastics is an increasing challenge for compost quality and emphasises that substituting conventional plastics with certified compostable plastics can significantly help in reducing this risk. Indeed, compostable plastics are essential in this respect of recovery and recycling, since no other economically viable solutions will be available for food-contaminated plastics in the near future.

The report correctly highlights that using compostable plastic bags increases the capture rate of food waste, since consumers find them convenient and practical to use. Many municipalities and waste collectors are, therefore, already recommending or requiring the use of certified compostable plastic bags for collecting bio-waste. In agriculture, biodegradable mulch films, which help by contributing towards sustainable farming practices, are also identified as a key solution in avoidng long-term plastic accumulation in soil.

However, on the consumer side the report also casts doubt around the potential for understanding how and where bioplastics should be dealt with when it comes to end-of-life options. It neglects to reflect that all biodegradable plastics, with the exception of agricultural mulch films which are recycled in situ, are clearly intended for organic recycling. Whilst opponents of bioplastics often claim that consumers will be unable to differentiate between bioplastics intended for home or industrial composting, the evidence points to the contrary where clear labelling, communication and effective sorting are put in place.

In order to accelerate the transition towards a greener economy, European Bioplastics calls on all relevant stakeholders to have a constructive dialogue over biodegradable and compostable plastics that is science rather than ideology based.

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