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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_0602

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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_0602

Politics market. It

Politics market. It provides large scale demonstration of biobased products performance in use and spurs development of new biobased products. Furthermore it helps to develop alternatives to fossil energy based products. Food and feed, motor vehicle fuels and electricity are excluded from the program. The agencies‘ specifications must comply Within one year after the final guidelines were issued, all agency specifications require use of biobased products, the agencies must create a corresponding procurement program, a biobased products preference program and an agency promotion program. In addition an annual review and monitoring of effectiveness of agency‘s program must be in place. Within one year after designation, all agencies‘ must give procurement preference to these items. The requirement applies to the purchase or acquisition of a procurement item where the purchase price exceeds ,000, or, where the quantity of such items purchased in the preceding fiscal year was ,000 or more. What manufacturers can do Manufacturers of biobased products can claim coverage under the program for all products for which generic groupings of products have been designated by rule making. They can certify that a product‘s biobased content is consistent with statutory definition and that the biobased content meets the minimum requirement, using ASTM standard test. Manufacturers can also certify that a product will perform in the use to which it will be put. Biodegradability required To be designated for preferred procurement, items of single use bioplastic products must meet appropriate ASTM standard for biodegradability. Some examples are cutlery, garbage bags or food containers. The Federal agencies may ask the manufacturer for additional information such as • The biobased content of a product using ASTM tests. • Environmental and health effects of product use using the National Institute of Standards and Technology‘s (NIST) BEES analysis or ASTM standard • Product‘s life cycle cost using the same standards • Results of product performance testing against industry recognized performance standards Status of the program The final rule to establish the program has been published in the Federal Register in January 2005. In addition, the first six items (groupings of products) for preferred procurement have been designated by final rule (published in the Federal Register in March 2006). Second and third rounds of proposed rules to designate items (10 items each) have been published in the Federal Register for public comment. The next steps of formal clearance of the proposed designation rules are underway. Examples of items proposed for designation are for example insulating foams, composite panels, biodegradable containers, biodegradable films, biobased cutlery, durable plastic films, biobased carpet etc. More than 170 items identified so far. When designating product items, USDA must also provide information to Federal agencies concerning relative price, performance as well as environmental and public health benefits. Where appropriate USDA should recommend a level of biobased content in the procured product. Manufacturers can help USDA get products designated USDA needs information on a number of individual products within an item (generic grouping) in order to designate that grouping by rule. Manufacturers can contact Steve Devlin at Iowa State University with product information. Qualifying biobased products may gain use of the U.S.D.A. CERTIFIED BIOBASED PRODUCT label and logo. The use of the label is granted for limited number of years with re-authorization. The proposed rule to establish the labeling program is currently in formal clearance in USDA. www.biobased.oce.usda.gov bioplastics [06/02] Vol. 1 29

Politics For Belgian BioPackaging this is a big challenge while it is not evident in a country as Belgium where packaging is part of federal legislation and waste treatment is dealt with by regional authorities. We know that authorities have certain sympathy for those products, but unfortunately they don’t want to push them yet. In addition, there are certain differences in the collection of waste between the North (separate collection and composting) and the South (no separations of the green waste) of Belgium, which makes it not easy. After months of preparatory meetings and discussions, Belgian BioPackaging (BBP) was founded on 19 April 2006. The main objective of this national association is to promote the interest and use of compostable packaging made from renewable resources. Therefore the first target will be to get access to the green waste bin system in Belgium for manmade biodegradable and compostable packaging. Therefore BBP gives much attention to legislation and certification by means of marketing and communication. Like in many other countries, in Belgium too the interest for bioplastics and compostable packaging is constantly growing over the last years. This growing demand is answered with an increasing number of products. However, these are relatively expensive which has to do with scale. Prices are expected to go down as soon as bigger volumes get involved, but those volumes can only grow when industry can offer lower prices. This deadlock now is tackled by Belgian BioPackaging Photo: Eosta Getting access to green waste bin for biodegradable and compostable products retailers deciding in favour of bio renewable packaging for other applications than just organic food, with a growing market share as a result. Although communicated as compostable towards the consumers, this compostable packaging, certified “OK Compost” and/or “OK Compost Home” is not accepted in the green bin in Flanders (the northern, dutch or flemish speaking region of Belgium) . Main concern is that opening the green bin for these compostable packaging materials will lead to pollution of the collected fraction. After many years of education and good direct communication, the Flemish people now are very meticulous waste sorters. As a result, the pollution in the very pure biowaste is estimated at less then 1,5% of the total fraction. This suspiciousness of the waste collectors and managers of composting installations regarding the possible intake of non biodegradable substances may be justified but it is refraining very much the breakthrough of bio renewable packaging. For all these reasons BBP wants to build bridges between the different authorities of which some have longtime insisted to have one national communication partner, but also to prepare a clear and direct communication towards consumers with a recognisable (preferably European) logo that stands undeniably for compostable together with clear advices for waste separation of biodegradable and compostable packaging in the green waste bin. Contributed article by Dirk Wens, President of Belgian BioPackging 30 bioplastics [06/02] Vol. 1

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