Policy framework for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics

EESC opinion: Policy framework for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics

Key points


  • welcomes the timely communication on the EU policy framework on biobased, biodegradable and compostable plastics: this is a sector which is opening up options for coming closer to the goals of sustainability and circularity.
  • highlights that Europe is a pioneer in the field of bioplastics and biodegradable plastics development in terms of financing research projects and its ensuing position as the world's second largest producer. The EU should raise the bar in global competition by adequately implementing the policy framework through specific aligned administrative, legislative, normative and economic measures.
  • encourages the Commission to draw conclusions on the basis of comparative analysis of the benefits of biobased, biodegradable and compostable plastics versus fossil-based plastics.
  • recommends that a systematic review be conducted of all measures which directly and indirectly affect the surrounding legislative and normative environment in line with the most recent scientific findings. This could mitigate confusion and safeguard users.
  • calls for the cascading hierarchical priority system to be applied to the evaluation of materials, products and processes, including circularity and sustainability aspects.
  • is persuaded that the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is an excellent tool for assessing certain sustainability aspects of products, and so helps guide planned or ongoing research, innovation and investment activities.
  • encourages Member States to introduce mandatory biobased plastic content percentages for both biobased plastic and compostable plastics.
  • believes that the regulation should not exclude a number of plastic products and applications that are inherently single-use, not returnable. In those cases, the use of BBP and/or compostable plastics is to be favoured.
  • stresses consumers have to be clearly informed and empowered how they can play an important active role in the green transition. For bioplastics, this means the awareness, recognition and correct end-of-life management supported by unambiguous labelling.