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29 January 2018

Dutch event stresses the importance of biobased standards

On the 18th of January 2018, NEN and PIANOo have organised a roundtable to discuss how 'standards' can support bio-based public procurement. The event was organised as part of the InnProBio project.

Participants, mainly from national and local Dutch public authorities, were invited to share their knowledge, experiences and ideas on the topic. Different certification schemes were discussed and procurers concluded it should be up to the procuring entity to apply the most appropriate criteria, for example, based on percentage of bio-based content, sustainability of biomass, a product’s biodegradability.

Building on the Province of Zeeland’s experience of purchasing biobased products , particular attention was given to the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) Technical specifications, such as the EN 16785-1:2015, relating to methods for determining bio-based content and EN 16575, defining common terminology to biobased products. Participants felt these standards can help set up criteria for biobased products. On the other hand, some participants raised the issue of using these standards for new materials. They also raised that they find it challenging to apply existing standards and regulations to newly developed materials.

The results of the roundtable/dialogue will form part of the recommendations of the InnProBio project to the European commission to further stimulate bio-based procurement.

24 January 2018

Latvian Government publishes the Bioeconomy Strategy 2030

The Bioeconomy Strategy 2030 aims to develop Latvian bioeconomy and makes Latvia the first EU-13 Member state to publish a national bioeconomy strategy.

The main strategy’s goals include the creation of jobs in the sector; an increase on the value added of products deriving from the bioeconomy market to €3,8 billion and an increase of the value of bioeconomy production exports to €9 billion, to be achieved by 2030.

Various stakeholders, such as research institutes and working groups made up by members from different Latvian Ministries (e.g. Ministry of Economics, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development) were involved in the development of the Strategy. A strong cooperation was developed with the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Latvia.

The Strategy encourages Latvian ministries to take into account the strategy’s recommendations in policy planning and writing, including for EU and other funding instruments, such as the Rural Development Programme 2021-2027 and other State Research Programmes.

You can read the Strategy and the Informative Report (In Latvian) on the Government’s website.

19 January 2018

European Commission publishes new strategy on plastic production and pollution

The European Commission presented on the 16th January 2017 a strategy on how the EU intends to approach plastic production and pollution over the next decade and beyond.

According to its new Plastics Strategy, the EU executive will work to ensure that all plastic packaging placed on the internal market is either reusable or easily recyclable by 2030. By the same year, the Commission hopes that more than a half of all plastic waste will be recycled, thanks to new effective waste collection programmes.

The strategy also recognizes the vital role of taxation and public procurement in supporting transition and steering investments. It affirms The European Commission will work to integrate recycled content in Green Public Procurement criteria.

For more information read the Plastic Strategy or visit EURACTIV.com article.

10 January 2018

New article sheds light on issues around bioplastics and their sustainability

A recent article has been issued focusing on issues around the real environmental impacts and life cycle of bioplastics. The article in fact considers bioplastics’ biodegradability, the side effects of bioplastics’ production, such as land use, and highlights other problems such as the materials’ discard and dismantle. The article also presents a few new types of biodegradable bioplastics being at the moment studied and developed.

Considering the estimated 9 million tons of trash entering the oceans every year, some argue bioplastics are to be considered a solution to plastic pollution. The often-cited advantages of bioplastics are reduced use of fossil fuel resources, a smaller carbon footprint, and faster decomposition.

However, the article stresses the importance of considering the materials’ life cycle. Bioplastics, in fact, can result in greater amounts of pollutants, due to the fertilizers and pesticides used for their production, can contribute more to ozone depletion and require extensive land use. Not only, but in order to biodegrade bioplastics, high temperature industrial composting facilities are required and not all cities have the infrastructure to deal with this.

The study concludes by mentioning a few new types of bioplastics under study, such as biodegradable bioplastic deriving from wastewater and solid waste and biodegradable bioplastics produced from organic waste such as food waste and crop residue.

To read the article, visit here. For further information on bio-based products and their sustainability, as well as on biodegradability check the InnProBio factsheets.