The latest bioplastics industry developments and progress, environmental communication and recycling were just some of the topics explored at this year’s European Bioplastics Conference.
Held on 6-7 November 2012 in Berlin, the 7th edition of the conference attracted 400 companies and 240 participants from around the world, including representatives from the European Commission, BASF and DuPont.
Roughly 85 percent of participants came from Europe, 10 percent were from Asia and the majority of the remaining 5 percent were from the Americas, according to industry association European Bioplastics.
Questions linked to growth of bioplastics industry
During the two-day event, various questions linked to the growth of the bioplastics industry were explored. These included which market segments will grow in particular and the impact of this growth, and how the growing supply of bioplastics is affecting public awareness.
During a podium discussion moderated by Thomas Probst of the Federal Association of Secondary Raw Materials and Disposal, the recycling industry put across the message that if given a sufficient quantity of any plastic, whether it be PLA or another bioplastic, this plastic can be sorted and recycled.
The topic of environmental communication for bioplastics was also discussed during a half-day pre-conference workshop, where representatives from public institutions, the bioplastics industry and the communications industry came together to discuss the pressing question, ‘where does greenwashing start?’
European Bioplastics, which recently published its environmental communications guide for bioplastics, said it plans to continue promoting best practice communications through a series of workshops over the next year.
Bioplastics market poised for fivefold growth
The overriding message to come out of the event was that bioplastics undeniably form a central component of the European bioeconomy strategy, the association highlighted.
Indeed, the European Commission recently pointed to continued growth opportunities for bioplastics, and global production capacity of this material is forecast to grow from roughly 1.6mn tons in 2011 to approximately 5.8mn tons by 2016.
Bioplastics are increasingly being used to package cosmetics and personal care products, with companies including P&G, L’Oreal and Shiseido just some of the industry players turning their attention to this sustainable material.