Solid Waste & Recycling


Bioplastics focus of German packaging amendment

The European Bioplastics industry representation welcomes the regulation concerning bioplastic drink bottles establ...

The European Bioplastics industry representation welcomes the regulation concerning bioplastic drink bottles established in the 5th Amendment of the German Packaging Directive. The amendment was passed on April 4, 2008. The regulation for bioplastic bottles will come into effect on January 1, 2009. These bottles “produced from at least 75 percent renewable resources” will be exempted from the compulsory deposit for single-use drink bottles until December 31, 2012. Manufacturers must however participate in a dual system of recycling for the bottles.

“Through this regulation, the federal government is encouraging the use of renewable resources in beverages packaging and therewith a substantial innovation from the plastics industry,” states Dr Harald Kaeb, Chairman of European Bioplastics. “This provides strong support for the market introduction of bioplastics.”

Retailers and the beverage industry will benefit from the uncomplicated handling. This will provide considerable stimulation for the expansion of the bioplastics market in Germany. Thus the cost-intensive establishment of sorting and recycling systems can be driven forward in line with increasing market size.

During the introductory phase, collection and recycling is proposed via the dual system — that is, using the yellow recycling sack/bin. Jran Reske, European Bioplastics Vice-Spokesperson and responsible for environmental issues, commented, “This will mean the bottles will generally be fed into energy recovery, and based on the fact that they were created from renewable resources, will contribute to a reduction in CO2 emissions.”

Approximately a dozen beverages are currently sold in bioplastic bottles worldwide. In order to handle rapidly growing demand, several companies from the bioplastics industry are at the point of making substantial investments into larger production plants.

Bioplastics is the term used for plastics produced from renewable resources and/or which are certified compostable to European standards. Bioplastics protect petroleum reserves and contribute to a reduction in CO2 emissions. Bioplastics currently have a market share of less than one percent of the total plastics market. The annual growth rate is however 20 to 30 percent. Under the Packaging Directive, a broad exemption for all certified compostable packaging made from bioplastics is in force until 31 December 2012 ( 16 Clause 2 p. 1 – 2).

European Bioplastics is the European bioplastics industry’s association. Supporting members of the association are 78 leading companies from the agricultural raw materials, chemicals and plastics industries, foodstuff producers and waste management companies.


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