European Bioplastics (EUBP) is the European association representing the interests of the bioplastics industry along the entire value chain. Its members produce, refine and distribute bioplastics i.e., plastics that are bio-based, biodegradable, or both.

EUBP is committed to driving the evolution of plastics by raising awareness across all relevant stakeholder groups about the benefits of bioplastics in reducing our dependency on fossil resources, reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and using renewable resources more efficiently.

EUBP’s role in BIOSUPPACK includes the monitoring of the ‘Regulatory & Safety Assessment’ and the summary of those results in a report on ‘Regulatory & Safety Compliance of BIOSUPPACK Materials and Demonstrators’, to ensure that the new bio-based materials, products and technologies fulfil EC Directives and specific national laws in the EU.

Furthermore, EUBP leads the project’s communication & dissemination tasks, which will raise the outreach to the public and practical take-up of the final recommendations and innovation results of BIOSUPPACK, as well as supporting the exchange amongst the consortium partners internally and with external industry stakeholders and researchers’ workshops and training events.

Bioplastics market predicted to grow by 200 %

EUBP is uniquely placed in the industry with an extensive network of businesses, partners, and experts in the bioplastics sector across Europe and beyond. The annual European Bioplastics Conference is the leading business and networking event for the entire industry. Every year during the conference, EUBP presents an outlook on the global bioplastics market. The market data is compiled in cooperation with the nova-Institute (Hürth, Germany). According to the latest update, the global production of bioplastics is set to more than triple over the next five years from around 2.4 million tonnes in 2021 to 7.5 million tonnes in 2026.

Relevance of PHA and organic recycling

The production of PHAs (polyhydroxyalkanoates) are predicted to grow from 0.04 million tonnes in 2021 to 0.5 million tonnes in 2026. PHAs are primarily used in pharmaceutical and medical applications, and increasingly in agricultural applications (mulch films) and packaging applications. PHAs are rarely used in packaging as-is but are often combined with other biodegradable plastics such as PLA or polycaprolactone (PCL), or act as an additive to enhance biodegradability. PHAs have gained particular attention since some of them exhibit exceptional biodegradability. Industrial composting or home compostability should be considered the preferred end-of-life option for packaging made of PHAs.

Compostable packaging contributes to increase separate organic waste collection, hence reducing the carbon footprint of landfilling, biowaste contamination, and delivering high quality compost. These contributions should find greater recognition in the EU waste legislation. Current regulation defines a ‘hierarchy’ in waste management, where waste prevention and re-use are the most preferred options, followed by recycling which includes industrial composting, as a form of organic recycling. Efficient waste management can only be achieved if mechanical and organic recycling are understood as interdependent and are allocated equal levels of hierarchical importance and regulatory provision. Indeed, these two solutions are complementary, with compostable packaging providing for the recovery of packaging which is not currently recycled. In order to maximise both innovation and the share of materials that are recovered and reused, a technology-neutral definition of ‘recycling’ should be established. This should leave the door open for new recycling technologies, including organic recycling and different forms of chemical and mechanical recycling.

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