Biodegradable plastics in the open environment
The Opinion on the ‘Biodegradability of Plastics in the Open Environment’ is provided in support of the European Commission Directorate-General for Environment. This Opinion intends to contribute to informing the forthcoming Commission’s policy framework related to bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics, and help define the main challenges and policy actions needed in this area. It builds on some of the recommendations of the Scientific Opinion on ‘Environmental and Health Risks of Microplastic Pollution’ published in 2019. The 2018 EU Plastics Strategy sets out a cautious approach for the use of biodegradable plastics (BDP). While it acknowledges that targeted BDP applications have shown some benefits, it also identifies several challenges and points out that “It is important to ensure that consumers are provided with clear and correct information, and to make sure that biodegradable plastics are not put forward as a solution to littering”. Moreover, “Applications with clear environmental benefits (and criteria for such applications) should be identified, and in those cases the Commission will consider measures to stimulate innovation and drive market developments in the right direction”.
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