In his speech, the EU commissioner said: “Bioplastics made from bio-feedstock and reintegrated into the biosphere as a nutrient, or recycled together with conventional plastic, clearly have a potential for being a truly sustainable material and it could reduce fossil fuel consumption.”
Potocnik encouraged the bioplastics industry “to continue their work on making bioplastics a truly sustainable material, neutral in its impact on food production and biodiversity”. The EU commissioner also pointed out that the industry should strive to inform the public about its products and processes in order to clarify its position and prosper in the future.
The latest edition of the European Bioplastics Conference also included a panel discussion on sustainability criteria, which heard that Life Cycle Assessment of bioplastics was ‘still the best available tool to assess the environmental performance of bioplastics as fact-based as possible’, according to a presentation by Professor Matthias Finkbeiner from the Technical University Berlin.
This panel then focused on the Product Environmental Footprint approach introduced by the European Commission, and discussed the need to break down the complexity of assessing the sustainability of bioplastics and the need to use available and valid methodologies and to provide easy-to-use tools to consumers.
An annual market data update by European Bioplastics and the Institute for Bioplastics and Biocomposites once more emphasised the success of the bioplastics industry at the conference, with production capacities projected to multiply from around 1.4 million tonnes in 2012 to more than six million tonnes in 2017.
According to the data update, all material types are gaining ground with bio-based non-biodegradable ‘drop-in’ solutions such as bio-based PE and bio-based PET leading the field. Biodegradable plastics, including PLA, biodegradable polyesters and starch blends are also demonstrating impressive growth rates, and their production capacity is expected to gain around 60% by 2017.
More than 350 participants from 215 companies attended this year’s European Bioplastics Conference, with 86% of participants hailing from Europe, 8% from North and South America and the majority of the remaining 6% from Asia.
Source: European Bioplastics
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2022
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