EEA briefing on biodegradable and compostable plastics


European Environment Agency (EEA) publishes report providing on overview of challenges and opportunities; includes introduction to relevant terminology, implications of use, and comparison of existing certifications; calls for clearer labeling and increased campaigns to inform consumers

On September 7, 2020, the European Environment Agency (EEA) published a briefing that discusses the challenges and opportunities of biodegradable and compostable plastics. The article introduces the definitions and implications of using plastics that are bio-based, biodegradable, oxo-degradable, and compostable. It also provides an overview of the current certifications and reference standards for compostability and biodegradability depending on various environmental conditions. Referenced studies in the briefing have shown that the multitude of labels that exist are difficult for consumers to understand, who are often surprised to learn that a bio-based plastic is not necessarily compostable or biodegradable. Different requirements for industrial versus home composting were also found to be confusing. While these plastics are seen to have potential environmental benefits in specific applications, the EEA identified that “biodegradable, compostable and bio-based plastics need clearer labelling and repeated awareness-raising campaigns targeting users to ensure their correct disposal and treatment.”

Full Article

Food Packaging Forum, 10 September 2020