EU industrial policy points to bioplastics as the packaging material of the future

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags European union European bioplastics European bioplastics association

The European Commission has published a communication on industrial policy stressing the belief that biobased products will help to trigger sustainable growth and business opportunities.

The publication has also prompted industry association European Bioplastics to comment about the document, which points to continued growth opportunities for bioplastics, which are increasingly being used to package cosmetics and personal care products.

“The bioplastics industry represents an important sector of the biobased products market, and our industry is playing its part in shaping this century with industrial processes sourced from renewable raw materials and innovative plastic products with a low carbon profile“,​ said Andy Sweetman, Chairman of European Bioplastics.
The European Commission’s communication highlights the fact that demand for sustainable products, combined with a framework designed to help the industry develop is likely to contribute to the sector’s continued growth.

 High demand and favourable legislation promote growth

"The biobased markets with high demand and favourable legislative framework could make a substantial contribution to the EU’s transformation into a more sustainable economy. The right legislation and framework conditions will, however, be needed to encourage uptake of renewable raw materials for industrial use,”​ the Commission’s document outlines.

Feeding this growth in bioplastics, an increasing number of companies are expanding into biobased polymers, including starch-based materials, PLA and PTT.

Meanwhile a second wave of bio-based plastics, such as PE and PET, are providing a useful, and more importantly a renewable alternative to plastics that are made from fossil fuels.

Packaging that reduces carbon footprint

These materials are being used to create increasingly sophisticated packaging for cosmetics and personal care products that not only help to contribute to a reduced carbon footprint, but also give businesses a green marketing opportunity.

The size of the global bioplastics market is set to double by the year 2015, with some of the biggest industry players, including L’Oreal, Shiseido and P&G already adopting the material for the packaging of a number of product lines.

The European Bioplastics association estimated that in 2011 700,000 tonnes of bioplastics were produced worldwide in 2011, a figure that is expected to explode in coming years, leading to a production total of 1.4 million tonnes by 2015.

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