In a meeting on 24th of January, the European
Parliament’s ENVI committee debated amendments to the European Commission’s
Directive on Waste, voting overwhelmingly to approve those amendments.
The amendments spell good news for the bioeconomy in Europe,
particularly the biobased products sector, as the amendments include focus on
separate waste collection, but also significantly differentiate bio-based
packaging from other plastic packaging. There is also now specific mention of
composting of bioplastics, which is a potential landmark legislation point for
the bioplastic sector, should it pass through the Parliament and Council.
As such, the vote has been welcomed by the European
Bioplastics association, among others. In particular, they highlight the separate
collection decision, as it opens up the opportunity for compostable plastic
bags for bio-waste to become widespread. Equally, emphasis is placed throughout
the amendments on promoting “products produced from sustainable renewable raw
materials”, another encouraging point for the bioplastics industry, and one the
EUBP is full of praise for.
Also of potential significance is the inclusion throughout the amendments of Anaerobic Digestion, which has potential to be a significant opportunity for the utilisation of bio-waste. If the amendments pass, waste fed into AD will now count as recycled, which may promote the proliferation of AD as an energy source, with the added legislative benefit of it helping to reach recycling targets stirring governments into action where it is concerned.
There was also success for the bioeconomy in the other votes undertaken, notably the amendments to the Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste, which encourages the incorporation of packaging waste as a raw material production processes. The amendments are unambiguous in their approach that “waste [is] a resource”, an approach the bioeconomy has significant potential to lead.