European Bioplastics, the association representing the interests on Europe’s bioplastics industry, has called for a ban or tax on all plastic shopping bags, suggesting that this will be a major factor in achieving a “more resource efficient and sustainable economy.”
A position statement released by European Bioplastics says: “European Bioplastics advocates the introduction of measures to minimise the consumption of oil-based plastic shopping bags. European Bioplastics supports two measures – a ban on plastic shopping bags [or] a tax or charge on plastic shopping bags.”
However, the organisation believes that plastic shopping bags that contain at least 50 percent biobased content should be exempt from any ban or tax in countries where organic waste is recovered and organically recycled.
The statement says: “The biobased content of bioplastic shopping bags ensures that they have a lower carbon footprint than oil-based bags, helping to reduce CO2 emissions.
“In countries where organic waste is collected, compostable bags can be used to collect organic waste, in effect making it a dual use bag. Studies have shown that compostable biowaste bags help to increase the amount of biowaste collected and improve the quality of compost. Dual use also reduces the number of bags that are thrown away or end up in landfills.
“In countries where plastic waste is recovered for recycling, the bioplastic shopping bags can be mechanically recycled into new plastic products. In countries where waste is incinerated, the biobased content contributes to the generation of renewable energy.
“European Bioplastics does not support landfill as a viable end-of-life option. However, in case of bioplastic shopping bags ending up in landfill, the biobased content will help to ‘sequester’ CO2.”