Usable packaging project submits seven-point strategy for European Institutions

packaging bottles

The usable packaging project partners have submitted a seven-point strategy for European Institutions to support the “development and deployment” of circular solutions to help grow the EU’s bioeconomy.

The letter has been issued as the European Commission prepares to publish its policy framework on biobased, biodegradable, and compostable plastics, academics and industries that constitute the usable packaging project.

The EC paper aims to lay down the framework within which these materials should be placed in the EU market. The usable packaging consortium believes the EU should seize the opportunity to develop a new industry that provides biobased and compostable solutions to plastic pollution and can play a key part in the bioeconomy.

The momentum is behind biobased alternatives to plastics and that this is a golden opportunity for the EU to grasp.

Launched in June 2019, the usable packaging project – funded by the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (JU) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme – aims to reduce the use of environmentally harmful fossil-fuel-based packaging by developing “high-performance” bio-alternatives derived from food industry by-products, to cover packaging and product needs for the food, drinks, pharmaceutical and clothing industries.

Signed on behalf of all project partners by project coordinator Prof José Maria Lagarón, of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), the letter reflects on recent EU policy reports and strategies as well as market trends and innovations across the globe, before urging EU institutions to capitalise without delay on these favourable conditions.

Policy has to be aligned and clear.

The project coordinator writes in the letter: “It would seem that now the momentum is behind biobased alternatives to plastics and that this is a golden opportunity for the EU to grasp to restore Europe to the leadership for the production of such materials.

“However, policy has to be aligned and clear. Those participating in the Usable Packaging project fear that the slow pace of policy change in the EU to promote and enhance the growth of biobased and compostable or biodegradable plastics will lead to production growing outside of the EU.”

Prof Lagarón then sets out the seven points of action for European Institutions to support the development of a new industry based on substituting traditional plastics with biobased and compostable materials and reducing plastic pollution.

These include:

  • Relaunching the Bioeconomy Strategy in line with Finland’s model.
  • Recognising the value for the EU market of the innovative industries that produce biobased and compostable materials.
  • Recognising the environmental and economic advantages of biobased and compostable plastics in food waste collection systems and recycling infrastructure.
  • Mandating the obligatory use of biobased and compostable materials in applications where traditional plastics can only ever be contaminants.
  • Promoting policies which ensure market space for innovation in materials manufacture.
  • Promoting identifiable labelling to avoid cross-contamination in recycling and food waste collection.
  • Promoting consumer communications to develop public understanding of compostable plastic recycling back to soil cycle.
Send this to a friend