Bioplastics in a circular economy

A group of environmental organisations warns of false hopes in bioplastics. The organisations remind that the main focus has to be on reducing the overall plastics use.

European Environmental Bureau, Friends of the Earth Europe, ECOS, Surfrider Foundation Europe and Zero Waste Europe have published a position paper that argues that any developments on bioplastics must be closely scrutinised, and not provide a smokescreen to continue ‘business as usual’ models of production and consumption.

In the paper, the organisations argue that there is clear evidence that bioplastics do not solve many problems in terms of plastic pollution and marine litter, but instead may create new ones. Bioplastics cause problems in collection and recycling processes and are therefore likely to end up in landfills or incinerators. „On top of this, false assumptions on biodegradability may increase littering, contaminate recycling streams and increase biowaste management costs“, the paper argues.

Instead of promoting the use of bioplastics, the organisations demand behavioural and production change and for government priorities to be on prevention and reuse. „The EU must ensure that all potential policies and initiatives relevant to plastics and bioplastics, particularly the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, the EU Strategy on Plastics and the review of the EU Bioeconomy Strategy promote true solutions that move us up the waste hierarchy, rather than down. Consumers must also be presented with unambiguous messages on the limit of bioplastics’ biodegradability and recyclability, and sound incorporation into collection systems must be ensured.”

The position paper is available here


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