Internal pricing needed for bioplastics
Europe wants place internal costs to better further development of newer, greener materials.
December 11, 2015 By Andrew Joseph
BERLIN—European Bioplastics, the association representing the value chain of bioplastics in Europe, is supporting initiatives to develop global carbon-pricing mechanisms and implement them effectively.
Such measures would be needed to incorporate the external costs of climate change into product prices and enable the development of greenhouse gas saving materials like bioplastics.
Putting a price tag on fossil carbon has been one of the major commitments that were discussed at the COP21 climate conference in Paris. This measure is designed to counter the return of cheap fossil feedstock like coal, oil or gas and the resulting increase in CO2 emissions.
“Oil prices of less than 50 U.S. dollars per barrel do not reflect the burden on the environment,” points out European Bioplastics chairman François de Bie. “A carbon pricing mechanism like taxation or emissions trading schemes are required to level out the negative effects of high volatility. The situation, as we see it today, may prevent protagonists from increasing investments in renewable chemicals and polymers.”
Bioplastics can help to reduce sector specific greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent or more, as revealed by life cycle analysis. The global production capacity was predicted to more than triple from around 1.7 million tonnes in 2014 to approximately 7.8 million tonnes in 2019. Building up bioplastics technology takes multi-billion euro long-term investments and requires adequate investor security.
Bio-based products were found to be a “Lead Market for Innovation” in Europe, but a supportive framework has yet to be put in place. In the meantime, the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached yet another new record high in 2014.
In the aftermath of COP21 in Paris, European Bioplastics association says a course must be kept towards the era of a circular economy based on resource efficiency and renewability, with the association calling for global, robust and predictable carbon pricing mechanisms. Renewable carbon content in materials and products, derived from biomass rather than fossil sources, should be valued preferentially in order to safeguard investments in low-carbon technologies and solutions.
European Bioplastics is the European association representing the interests of the industry along the entire bioplastics‘ value chain. Its members produce, refine, and distribute Bioplastics, i.e. plastics that are either bio-based, biodegradable, or both.
More information at www.european-bioplastics.org.
Image above shows the Chemical structures of P3HB, PHV and their copolymer PHBV—bioplastic compounds of Polyhydroxyalkanoates.