4th Annual Report on biodegradable and compostable polymers by Assobioplastiche

BIOVOICES and Biobridges H2020 projects, participated to the presentation of the 4th Annual Report on biodegradable and compostable polymers by Assobioplastiche – representatives in Italy of the compostable bioplastic chain. Paolo Arcelli illustrated the sector study carried out by Plastic Consult with emphasis on very positive results for the bioplastics industry in the last  five-years 2012-2017:

  • TURNOVER: + 49% (€ 545 million)
  • PRODUCTION: + 86% (73,000 tons)
  • EMPLOYEES: + 92% (2,450)
  • COMPANIES: + 69% (240)

Italian producers seem to be a reference point for bioplastic supplies throughout Europe.

“Every year MilanoRistorazione using bioplastic saves 720.000 kg of plastic”

Fabrizio De Fabritiis, CEO of Milan Catering S.p.A. presented the case study on “Plastic abolition from Milan canteen”.

Until 2014 non-compostable and biodegradable plastic crockery was used for the canteen service. Given the high number of meals produced, the impact on the environment was considerable. As a consequence, Milano Ristorazione tried to evaluate different possibilities to make the service more sustainable and to enter into the perspective of a less impactful circular process. After analyzing pros and cons, the best possible solution has been identified in the use of tableware made of compostable and biodegradable material. Therefore a research was started on a product that had these two requirements and that was, at the same time, capable of not altering the conditions of the service. The use of a compostable and biodegradable product was included in the tender for the facility services, so the facility companies themselves made the purchase directly.

Main criticalities related to adoption of single-use bioplastic appear to be

  1. Limited number of suppliers able to meet the technical characteristics of the service
  2. High similarity to traditional plastic plates, which in the absence of correct information can lead to the transmission of wrong messages
  3. High cost of about 2 million more than plastic

The event ended with the question of single use-plastics.

We are waiting for the EU guidelines to define the future.