European Plastics Converters (EuPC), the trade association representing European plastics converters, has come out in favor of the European Commission's green paper on plastics waste while criticizing the bioplastic industry.
The Brussels-based trade group was particularly in favor of the paper's aim of tackling the problems of littering associated with short-life plastic carrier bags.
However, EuPC remains concerned by a number of statements being made that bio-based plastic shopping bags are more sustainable than traditional oil-based alternatives. As users of plastics raw materials, plastics converters only want to use the most sustainable materials that are fit for customers' needs.
"When considering the sustainability of a material we need to look at resources used in their production, including land-use and water consumption (in the case of bio-based plastics and the sustainability of biomass used). EuPC believes that any EU policy related to bioplastics needs to take account of lessons learned from the biofuels sector," said the association in a statement.
"End of life solutions also play a crucial role in the determination of a materials sustainability," added EuPC. Compostable and biodegradable plastics need to stay out of traditional waste streams in order to avoid "detrimental impacts on the quality of recycling".
"Furthermore, bioplastics are not a solution to marine litter and this has been clearly recognised by the European Commission during an event on plastics waste held earlier this week."
EuPC believes that Europe needs to focus more on better separation and collection in order to ensure the correct end-of-life approaches for different plastics materials and increase recycling towards a circular economy for all plastic products.