bioplastics daily news
  • Commission launches Circular Plastics Alliance to foster the market of recycled plastics in Europe


    December 11, the European Commission launched an alliance of key industry stakeholders covering the full plastics value chain as part of its persisting efforts to reduce plastics littering, increase the share of recycled plastics and stimulate market innovation.

    nAgainst the backdrop of the Commission's efforts to help accelerate Europe's transition towards a circular economy, the Circular Plastics Alliance will aim to improve the economics and quality of plastics recycling in Europe. The Alliance will in particular strengthen the match between supply and demand for recycled plastics which is identified as the main obstacle to a well-functioning EU market of recycled plastics. With this new initiative, the Commission wants to contribute to the objective of achieving at least 10 million tons of recycled plastics into new products on the EU market by 2025 as set in the European Strategy for Plastics.
    First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, responsible for sustainable development, said: "Close cooperation within and between all the links in the plastics value chain is essential if we are to achieve a true circular plastics economy and ensure that recycled plastics find their way to new products, instead of into landfills or the incinerators. The Circular Plastics Alliance aims to facilitate this cooperation, building on the commitments the plastics industry has already made and encouraging even more ambitious action. Europe already leads this, and Europe will be the first one to reap the benefits as well. This is the best way to show the world that circular plastic economy is good for the business and good for the environment."
    On occasion of the launch of the Circular Plastics Alliance, Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "European industry has already clearly committed to more sustainable plastics with the pledges that they have submitted to the Commission. Business understands this is an opportunity to innovate and to become global frontrunners in new technology and materials, in line with circular economy logic. The platform that we are setting up today will encourage cooperation and dialogue between market operators, both on the supply and the demand side, so that we can together build a well-functioning market for recycled plastics."
    The Circular Plastics Alliance will be a high-level, multi-stakeholder platform gathering key industry stakeholders covering the full plastics value chain – from waste collectors to recyclers and primary producers to converters, brand owners and retailers -including in particular packaging, construction and automotive sectors.
    The Alliance will pursue three main operational objectives:
    - Fostering short-term, voluntary and coordinated actions and investments by key industry stakeholders. There actions and investments may cover separate collection of plastic waste; harmonised reporting on collection and recycling rates and volumes; investments in sorting and recycling facilities; voluntary standards on the 'design for recycling' of plastic products and others. Improving the economics and quality of plastics recycling in Europe would contribute to the achievement of the 10 million tons target by 2025. Public authorities across Europe should also play an active role in that.
    - Reporting on the obstacles which may hamper stakeholders' efforts to fully deliver on their pledges and to reach the target set for 2025. Some of those already identified include lack of infrastructure, insufficient access to finance and standardisation gaps.
    - Monitoring progress made towards more plastics recycling and more uptake of recycled plastics in Europe. The monitoring should help identify the gaps in the supply and demand for different recycled plastics. In parallel, new voluntary commitments will be encouraged.
    Next steps
    The Commission will invite key industry stakeholders to join the Alliance, in particular from those sectors, which account for most demand for plastics in Europe such as the packaging, construction and automotive industries. Other sectors will be approached as well for their contribution in order to address the full plastics value chain. The first meeting of the Circular Plastics Alliance will be organised as part of the EU Industry Days on 05 February 2019. A series of operational meetings on the key topics identified by the Alliance at their first meeting will take between March and May 2019.
    In December 2015 the Juncker Commission adopted an ambitious new Circular Economy Package to help European businesses and consumers to make the transition to a stronger and more circular economy where resources are used in a more sustainable way. The Package has broken down silos in the Commission and contributes to broad political priorities by tackling climate change and the environment while boosting job creation, economic growth, investment and social fairness. It has been prepared by a core project team co-chaired by First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Vice-President Jyrki Katainen with the close involvement of Commissioners Karmenu Vella and Elżbieta Bieńkowska. Many other Commissioners were also involved in its preparation and helped identify the most effective tools covering a wide range of policy areas.
    In January 2018 the European Commission adopted the first-ever Europe-wide Plastics Strategy as part of the transition towards a more circular economy. It will protect the environment from plastic pollution whilst fostering growth and innovation, turning a challenge into a positive agenda for the Future of Europe. Under the new plans, all plastic packaging on the EU market will be recyclable by 2030, the consumption of single-use plastics will be reduced and the intentional use of microplastics will be restricted.
    As part of this strategy on plastics the Commission launched a voluntary pledges campaign and is currently assessing the received pledges by the industry. A preliminary analysis indicates that at least 10 million tons of recycled plastics could be supplied by 2025 if the pledges are fully delivered. However, on the demand side, only 5 million tons are expected, demonstrating that more actions will be needed to achieve the objective of a well-functioning EU market of recycled plastics.

  • Record attendance and innovative solutions at the 13th European Bioplastics Conference


    The 13th European Bioplastics Conference, which took place on 4/5 December 2018 in Berlin, put bioplastics in the spotlight for over 400 senior executives from across the bioplastics value chain, including brands, policy makers, academia, and NGOs, by meeting the demand for more sustainable, resource-efficient, and functional solutions.

    mThe sold-out event once again confirmed its status as the leading business and networking platform in driving the growth and innovation of the global bioplastics industry.

    In his opening speech, François de Bie, Chairman of European Bioplastics (EUBP) highlighted some of the major achievements of the bioplastics industry in the past year: “The joint efforts of the European Member States and the European institutions to create a circular plastics economy has sparked increased innovative activities within the bioplastics community. The intense debate about the future of plastics in general has created many opportunities for bioplastics to facilitate the transition to a circular economy. Environmental assessments, rethinking product design, sound and diverse end of life solutions – bioplastics are more than simple substitution, they provide creative, evolving influence at different steps of the value chain. Our bioplastics industry is well positioned to offer additional end of life options that help reduce litter and CO2 emissions.”

    Michiel De Smet from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation opened the conference programme discussing policy-making and innovation towards a circular economy in Europe, including the role of bio-based feedstock for plastic production. “The EU initiatives of the past years aim to promote the circular economy through innovation and to rethink the current plastics system to harness its benefits while overcoming its drawbacks, such as marine pollution. In connection with the updated Bioeconomy Strategy and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the EU is supporting the transition from fossil feedstock towards renewable alternatives”. Adding to this, Philippe Mengal from the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) said “bioplastics are a priority for the BBI JU. Thirty percent of our projects relate directly or indirectly to bioplastics“.

    Are there any tools in future that might help drive and evaluate sustainability other than life cycle assessment (LCA)? This question was the starting point for a panel with the experts Rana Pant (European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, JRC), who also gave a keynote presentation on LCA, Meadhbh Bolger (Friends of the Earth Europe), Nikolay Minkov (Technische Universität Berlin), and Annamari Enström (Neste Corporation). The discussion elaborated on the current limitations of LCA as a tool to compare bio-based and fossil-based plastics. Rana Pant presented the ongoing JRC project that develops a methodology to be used for a comparative LCA of ten selected plastic products, which aims to create a level playing field for environmental sustainability comparisons of fossil-and bio-based plastics, but also recycled and CO2-based plastics.

    The recent policy developments have also drawn attention to biodegradability in the marine environment. Miriam Weber from HYDRA Marine Sciences gave an overview of the currently available test results and standards of biodegradability under marine conditions and which gaps should be filled. “We need a reliable framework for an environmentally relevant test schemes, to prove and control the claim of ‘biodegradability in the marine environment’. This test scheme is an instrument, but it should be the society deciding if and how marine biodegradability should be supported.”

    Another highly anticipated session was the presentation of the 2018 market data shared by Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of EUBP: “The global production capacities of bioplastics are set to grow by 25 percent in the next five years”, said von Pogrell. (For more details, see our earlier post on Dec 6.) Manufacturers confirmed this development with the announcement of new products and services. Carbiolice took the stage to officially launch Evanesto, a unique enzymatic technology that could make PLA home compostable. NatureWorks presented on how their Ingeo biopolymers support the energy efficiency of electrical appliances. Also, Organic Waste Systems (OWS), which celebrated its 30th anniversary at the conference, gave an update on the EU standard for home compostable carrier bags.

    420 participants from 255 companies and 45 countries worldwide attended the European Bioplastics Conference, connecting and catching up on the latest developments and trends in the bioplastics industry. 41 companies showcased a diversity of the new products, materials, and applications at the exhibition. European Bioplastics extends a special thank you to the sponsors of this year’s conference: BASF, OWS, Total Corbion PLA, BIOTEC, NatureWorks, Futerro, PTTMCC, Sulzer and TechnipFMC, for their support.

  • Perstorp to sell its Capa business to Ingevity


    Perstorp, a global leader in specialty chemicals, announced today it has agreed to sell Capa, its caprolactone business, including the production site in Warrington, to Ingevity for approximately €590 million. The business has annual revenues of approximately €150 million.

    mUnder Perstorp’s leadership during the last 10 years, Capa’s operating margins have increased by almost 50% by investing in production and new product lines, which in turn have increased both the customer base and the geographic reach. This has made Capa a highly attractive asset, gaining interest among several potential buyers of which Ingevity now will be the new owner to continue to develop the long-term value of the business. Ingevity will acquire Perstorp UK Ltd including Perstorp’s entire caprolactone business.
    The sale of Capa will unlock significant value and is in line with Perstorp’s track record of successful divestments such as most recently the BioFuels Business and in 2017, the Belgian site in Gent.
    It will furthermore enable the Perstorp Group to focus its business opportunities and future growth prospects on its Polyol, Oxo and Feed businesses, maximizing opportunities such as;
    • further building leadership in the polyol business
    • expand the markets for phthalate free plasticizer Pevalen™
    • expand the markets for products within the animal nutrition area
    • establishing its pro-environment solutions as the first choice (certified products based on renewable raw materials)
    Jan Secher, President and CEO of Perstorp, commented: “We have a strong track record in delivering optimum value from our businesses. Capa is an excellent proof of this and where the business will continue to have a bright future. This sale realizes the significant value of the asset, simplifies Perstorp Group, strengthens our balance sheet and allows us to focus our future investment and innovation in attractive high growth segments. Our strategy remains to leverage Perstorp’s superior positions and expertise in chemistry and engineering to drive innovation and provide our customers with solutions that advance everyday life.”
    “The Capa business fits Ingevity’s strategy and financial profile and aligns with our business model and capabilities,” said Michael Wilson, Ingevity president and CEO. “Like our current businesses, Capa is a high value-added, specialty chemicals business driven by technology-based customer partnerships and focused on high-growth end-markets. In addition, Capa will increase Ingevity’s product and geographic diversity and offers the potential to grow in related strategically-targeted market segments.
    The transaction is subject to certain regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, and Perstorp expects to close the transaction in the first quarter of 2019.
    HSBC Bank plc acted as financial adviser and Allen & Overy acted as legal counsel to Perstorp.

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