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Issue 06/2017

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  • Bioplastics
  • Biobased
  • Materials
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  • Plastics
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  • Biodegradable
  • Sustainable
  • Compostable
  • Renewable

Report Situation in

Report Situation in France By: Marie Plancke Secrétaire Générale Club Bio-plastique Paris, France Two years ago, France’s Energy Transition for Green Growth bill was voted into law by the National Assembly. This wide-reaching Act aims to provide effective tools to boost green growth, to reduce environmental impacts and is strongly committed to a circular economy transition. A key aspect of the law is to tackle unemployment through green growth by relocating industrial plants in territories. As biobased and biodegradable plastics are predicated on a systemic approach that starts from the soil and ends in the soil, they illustrate a concrete model of the French perspective on a circular economy focused on territories. The starch from which French bioplastics are made, indeed, comes from, potatoes and maize cultivated in French soil. Biorefineries and plastics converting companies can be integrated into local areas where bioplastics are produced. Club Bio-plastiques, the French representative of the bioplastics industry (from agro-resources to their final conversion) has been invited to work on the French Circular Economy roadmap which is scheduled for publication in March 2018. Bioplastics in France: now & tomorrow Since January 1 st 2017, thin-walled single-use plastics bags have been banned. The bags must be made from plastic with a minimum biobased content of 30 %, and be home compostable, compliant to the French home composting standard NFT 51 800. The minimally required biobased percentage will increase progressively to 60 % in 2025. Checkout carrier bags must now be reusable, which means they must be have a thickness > 50µm to be in compliance with the law. Nevertheless, many PE single-use bags can still be found at small city markets, although most supermarkets are now in conformity. Club Bio-plastiques continues to work on this issue with the Environment Ministry in order to meet the single-use plastic bags ban. The Ministry for Economic Affairs has commissioned a report about the environmental & economic benefits of this regulation that will be published in 2018. Under the Energy Transition Act, a ban on disposable cups, glasses and plates not made of bioplastic will go into effect on January 1 st 2020 . Although members of Club Bio-plastiques are very pleased and welcome this latest weapon in the fight against plastic pollution, they warned the Ministry and its representatives about the home composting obligation. Under the law, “cups, glasses and plates” must be made of bioplastic with a minimum biocontent of 50 % and home compostable (in compliance with the French standard), which leads to a technical issue for companies. Although industrial composting would not have been a problem, the industry has not yet been able to produce disposable plates, cups and glasses that are home compostable - in spite of massive R&D investments. The problem is the thickness. Manufacturers of these products do not expect to successfully produce home compostable serviceware before the year 2020. Another deadline will occur in 2025 with the generalization of source separation, the first step for the separate collection of biowaste, which could help towards achieving the targets of the Circular Economy Package (decrease of landfilling and so on). Indeed, by requiring source separation and organic waste valorization, the Act aims to enhance compost quality. The French Agency for the Environment (ADEME) published a best practices guide for biowaste collection last spring, highlighting the use of biodegradable bags in the process. The importance of organic waste collection, and role of biobased and biodegradable plastics in the model were emphasized in discussions during the Food & Farming General State led by the government. Invited to participate and to discuss on the bioeconomy and the Circular Economy, Club Bio-plastiques also called for a ban on oxofragmentable mulch films. These products are still used in France despite their environmental impact, and in spite of existing biodegradable mulch films solutions. 50 bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/17] Vol. 12

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