Ad:FACHPACK 2024
Ads:Current issue FRUIT PROCESSINGWorld Of Fruits 2024Our technical book Apple Juice TechnologyFRUIT PROCESSING Online Special: Instability of fruit-based beveragesFRUIT PROCESSING Online Special: Don’t give clogs a chanceOrange Juice ChainOur German magazine FLÜSSIGES OBST

European Bioplastics (EUBP), the association representing the interests of the bioplastics industry in Europe, has elected a new Board. The EUBP leadership team will be headed by its new Chairperson, Stefan Barot (BIOTEC) and supported by the new Vice Chairpersons, Lars Börger (Neste) and Mariagiovanna Vetere (NatureWorks). “Never before has our industry received that much of attention. Economically and politically, these are pivotal times, and I’m very pleased to be able to support our industry in my new role as EUBP Chair”, says Stefan Barot.

Crucial EU legislation on bioplastics is expected to be adopted by the end of the year and beyond. This is a great opportunity to fully acknowledge the role of bio-based and compostable plastics within the circular economy. We welcome the European Commission’s initiatives to establish a clear and reliable political environment for bioplastics. This is crucial to ensure a continued successful development of our industry. It also enables bioplastics to contribute to the achievement of the EU’s ambitious climate goals, especially a lower environmental footprint”, he adds.

Afsaneh Nabifar (BASF SE), Peter von den Kerkhoff (Covation Biomaterials LLC), Patrick Zimmermann (FKuR), Franz Kraus (Novamont), Paolo La Scola (TotalEnergies Corbion), and Erwin Lepoudre (Kaneka) are also members of the new Board, with the latter serving as the Treasurer.

“I would like to express my gratitude to all members of the previous board for their great contributions to our association over the past term”, says Barot and adds: “In the name of European Bioplastics I would also like to express special appreciation to my predecessor, François de Bie, who had served the association as Chairperson for almost ten years. Now, important tasks lie ahead of us and I’m very much looking forward to actively approaching them.”

European Bioplastics, the association, representing the bioplastics industry in Europe, is pleased to announce the appointment of Maria Neguț as new Head of EU Affairs. She assumed her position on 14 March 2022 and will be based in Brussels.

European Bioplastics (EUBP) and its members are happy to welcome Maria Neguț on board of the EUBP team at this time of crucial importance. With the Green Deal casting its shadow ahead, setting up the path for the European Union’s transition to a real resource-efficient economy, bioplastics are poised to play a significant role.

Prior to joining European Bioplastics, Maria Neguț held several positions at the European Parliament and the European Commission. Most recently, she worked with the European Cocoa Association (ECA) where she served as EU Affairs Director Sustainability for over five years. Besides holding a Master’s degree in Political Sciences and European Affairs from the Université Libre de Bruxelles as well as a post-graduate degree in International Organizations from the European Academy of Diplomacy (EAD), she is also a recognised Certified Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner. Maria was an active member of the EU Commission’s Expert Group/Multi-Stakeholder Platform on Protecting and Restoring the World’s Forests, including the EU Timber Regulation and the FLEGT Regulation. In addition, she was a member of the CEN TC415 – tasked with the development of the first international standard ISO 34101 on sustainable and traceable cocoa. On a regular basis, Maria is contributing to think-thank projects and writing on topics linked to sustainability, energy, and EU policies.

In line with its goal to transition to 100 % recycled and plant-based PET bottles by 2030, the Suntory Group unveiled a prototype PET bottle made from 100 % plant-based materials partnership. The prototype bottle was developed in collaboration with US-based Anellotech for Suntory’s Orangina and Tennensui soft drinks brands in the European and Japanese markets, respectively. Given Suntory’s claims that its plant-based bottle overcomes several issues associated with bioplastics, it represents a step forward for the beverages industry towards the holy grail of biodegradable packaging, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Bobby Verghese, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Compostable/biodegradable plastics are presently a lower priority than recyclable packaging for Japanese consumers validated by as GlobalData’s Q3 2021 consumer survey. Only 30 % of Japanese respondents in the survey consider compostable/biodegradable an important factor in a product, when compared with 63 % of respondents who prioritize easy to recycle products*.

Verghese continues: “This is partly as consumers are disillusioned by earlier plant-based packaging innovations such as Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle, which failed to take off after the initial hype due to functional and cost challenges. Also, a large section of consumers are unsure how the biodegradable bottles will safeguard its contents.”

While bioplastics are touted as the penultimate solution for the plastic waste problem, most products have hitherto failed to match the performance of conventional oil-based plastics. Additionally, the cost of raw materials and overhauling existing manufacturing lines to accommodate bioplastics remain quite prohibitive. Moreover, bioplastics degrade only under specific ambient conditions, thereby posing an environmental threat. Furthermore, cultivating crops for producing bioplastics locks up agricultural land that could otherwise be used for food production.

Suntory claims its bioplastic material is made from two compounds, namely PTA and MEG, which are made from non-food biomass and non-food-grade feedstock, respectively, which minimizes its impact on the food chain. The plant-based bottle is claimed to be generate far lower carbon emissions than petroleum-derived plastic bottles.

Verghese concludes: “Suntory’s plant-based bottle can attract 39 % of Japanese consumers who consider products with reduced carbon footprint to be quite/extremely important, and 41 % of consumers who say the same for products that are sustainable/made from renewable sources*. However, the pros and cons of the bioplastic will only come to light after the full-fledged market launch.”

*Data taken from GlobalData’s Q3 2021 Consumer Survey – Japan with 527 respondents, published in September 2021