UK-based Biome Bioplastics has welcomed a decision by the European Union (EU) to change legislation in recognising bioplastics’ role in reducing waste and achieving recycling goals.

Last month, provisional agreements have been reached by the European Council and Parliament on the EU waste legislative package published by the European Commission in 2015.

The package comprises the revision of the Waste Framework Directive and the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.

The revision to Waste Framework Directive was part of the EU’s aim to acknowledge bio-based feedstock for plastic packaging and compostable plastics for separate bio-waste collection.

The change would also help in contributing to more efficient waste management and help reduce the environmental impact of plastic packaging.

“Britain has a vibrant industrial biotechnology sector but further government support, particularly in collaborative research, can accelerate the industry on the global stage.”

It is expected that bioplastics can also play a vital role in tackling the plastic waste problem in the UK, particularly for consumer single-use packaging, according to Biome.

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Several EU member states have implemented the process of collecting biodegradable and compostable packaging, as well as bio-waste, and recycling it by industrial composting and anaerobic digestion.

The revised legislation now allows the same process and separate bio-waste collection is set to be mandatory across Europe by 2023.

Biome Bioplastics CEO Paul Mines said: “We welcome the EU’s decision to change its legislation to recognise the vital role that bioplastics can play in reducing overall consumer waste and to ensure recycling targets are met.

“Households are rightly concerned by consumer waste and they are welcoming moves to ensure less waste and greater recycling, especially after witnessing the scale of the problem worldwide through awareness-raising programs such as David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II series.”

The company noted that the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive now acknowledges bio-based plastics help reduce the environmental impact of plastic packaging and minimise Europe’s dependence on imported raw materials.

The agreed text also makes a clear distinction between biodegradable compostable plastics and so-called oxo-degradable plastics, which will not be considered biodegradable.

Mines added: “It’s now time for the UK Government to follow Europe’s lead in tackling the plastic waste problem by acknowledging how bioplastic materials can replace petroleum-based plastics, given bioplastics can be recycled and composted without the carbon footprint and with less material impact on the environment.

“Britain has a vibrant industrial biotechnology sector but further government support, particularly in collaborative research, can accelerate the industry on the global stage. It is also vital to ensure that regulation will support and not hinder smart technological solutions.”

The company has been developing a range of biopolymers since the last five years and many of them are single-use packaging that are based on natural and renewable resources, including plant starches and tree by-products such as cellulose.