European Bioplastics said it supports the new legislative approach by its Latvian member homo ecos, which has tabled a cabinet proposal to implement EN 13432 and 14995, standards that define biodegradable plastics. The move to bring these into national legislation would provide much-needed help for industry players which would be able to qualify for tax breaks, said the organisation.
“At the moment we are strongly committed to the translation of the European standards for compostable bioplastics EN 13432 and EN 14995 into Latvian. This is necessary so that the standards can be taken over in national legislation,” said Andrejs Viks, homo ecos spokesperson and board member.
These European standards specify requirements and procedures to determine the compostability or anaerobic treatability of plastic materials by addressing four characteristic: biodegradability; disintegration during biological treatment; effect on the biological treatment process; and the effect on the quality of the resulting compost.
The significance of the proposal lies in the fact that packaging manufactured from bioplastics qualify for a considerably reduced tariff compared to other plastics, said the trade body. However, the new ordinance makes certification and labelling mandatory for bioplastics products if they want to profit from the lower tariff, it added.
Viks said food processing, packaging and agriculture were the most attractive sectors for bioplastics growth. He explained that while there were currently no active grant programmes for bioplastics in the Balkan country, adopting the EU standards may give industry players the opportunity to be classified as innovation schemes and therefore eligible to apply for EU support grants. He added that the adopting of the recognized standards and regulations would “increase the attractiveness of investments”.
Eastern European potential
Andy Sweetman, European Bioplastics chairman, said: “European Bioplastics welcomes the initiative by homo ecos. Eastern Europe is a market of great possibilities for our industry. It is good to see the visibility of our products growing and the support for bioplastics strengthened in Latvia. We are looking forward to further improve our collaboration locally in all fields of work.”
The organisation told FoodProductionDaily.com there would “definitely be growth” in the Eastern Europe bioplastics sector but acknowledged this would come as “until now the market was basically zero”. However, given the current economic downturn, precise figures were difficult to predict, it said.