19 January 2017

Joint position paper: Bioplastics in a Circular Economy

There is an increasing trend towards replacing conventional fossil-based plastics with bioplastics. Governments and industry are using the green-sounding credentials of bioplastics to promote them as speeding the reduction in fossil fuel use and solving the ever-growing plastic pollution and marine litter issues. However, there is clear evidence that bioplastics do not solve many of these problems and in fact cause new ones.

The political debate around switching to bioplastics hides the real issue: the pressing need to reduce all plastic use. The EU must ensure that all potential policies and initiatives relevant to plastics and bioplastics promote true solutions.

Our joint position paper with European Environmental Bureau, Friends of the Earth Europe, Surfrider Foundation Europe, and Zero Waste Europe 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. It is available here

In particular, the paper underlines the need to consider relevant standards and monitor their use. In the absence of legislation, relevant standards for terminology, test methods and labelling of plastics should be considered and improved across Europe. This could contribute to harmonising definitions, biodegradability specifications, and to clarifying communication to consumers. Standards should be used to support legislation and not substitute or replace the development of appropriately ambitious legislation and policy on plastics.

Read the joint position paper here.

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