Conclusion PDF Print E-mail
It is and will continue to be the task of all parties involved in plastics waste management and of governmental institutions to work out best practice recovery solutions for both bioplastics and conventional plastics.

It has to be kept in mind that bioplastics have only a very small share of the current 50 Million ton total plastics market in Europe. They represent a new material group, which can make use of all the established recovery and recycling technologies for conventional plastics and moreover offer the new option of organic recycling.

There is time and opportunity to develop solutions because bioplastics are still in their infancy with low market volume. Recycling issues should not lead to hampering the development of bioplastics. The focus should be on the establishment of practical solutions for legislation, communication, sorting and recycling technologies, amongst other issues.

Most bioplastic products are composted today and do not interfere with recycling. Composting is and will remain an important recovery route for many short-life bioplastic products.

Thermal recovery processes can handle bioplastics more easily due to their lower demand for purity. Mechanical or chemical recycling represent promising (new) options for some bioplastics, yielding potentially high quality recyclates.

The intention must be to establish eco-efficient recycling systems by making use of all available recovery methods according to the particular product, thereby avoiding negative interference from existing plastic recycling schemes.

As bioplastics volumes are currently very low, methane emissions from bioplastics are not a relevant issue. Bioplastics – and much more importantly, organic food waste - should not however end up in landfill without pre-treatment. Stopping landfill of untreated organic waste, to which bioplastics can contribute e.g. by enabling consumers to collect their organic waste separately in compostable bags, would solve the problem of methane emissions and improve ecology.

 

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