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The need for biobased plastics in an EU climate neutral circular economy

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The need for biobased plastics in an EU climate neutral circular economy

More ambitious recycling targets for plastics are required - Braskem

The European Green Deal aims to make Europe climate neutral by 2050. The plastics industry has an important role to play in transforming the traditional linear economy into a circular one, as outlined in the Strategy for plastics in a circular economy.

Braskem aims to play an important role in helping achieve these objectives, which cover the whole value chain as regards how plastic products are designed, produced, used and recycled in the EU. Ambitious legislative measures will need to be adopted to reduce climate change emissions and ensure higher levels of recycling in the sector.

With a goal to include 1 million tons plastic products with recycled content in its portfolio by 2030 Braskem is fully committed to continue investing in recycling projects in all the regions it operates in and welcomes the European Commission’s focus on achieving more ambitious recycling targets in sectoral legislation.

Sustainable production of plastics is a crucial part of reaching a circular economy

To accelerate the transformation of the material sector from fossil carbon towards renewables and towards carbon neutrality, the current policy on plastics circularity must go beyond recycling efforts and also focus on the alternative production of plastics1.

Currently, only around 2% of the European plastics production comes from bio-based plastics2. Without clear legal incentives within the European circular economy policy framework to stimulate further production capacity, an important opportunity to move away from fossil-based plastics will be lost.
To decouple the use of plastics from the consumption of finite resources and reach the EU 2050 climate neutrality target it will be necessary to combine the use of recycled plastics with the use of bio-based plastics in plastics manufacturing.

The use of such bio-feedstock should demonstrate clear sustainability benefits:

  • Plastics made from bio-based feedstock should demonstrate a reduced carbon footprint considering their carbon storage potential, compared with fossil-based equivalent products.
  • Bio-based feedstock used to produce biobased plastics should comply with relevant EU sustainability criteria.

Packaging represents over a third of plastic consumption in the EU and while new reuse and recycling targets will decrease the quantity of new plastics put on the market, there will continue to be a demand for plastics packaging. In order to promote a carbon neutral circularity of plastics, a proportion of this material should come from sustainably sourced bio-based feedstock.

Braskem, which has committed itself to producing 1 million tons of bio-based plastics by 2030, calls on the European Parliament to take the opportunity to include targets for the use of bio-based plastics in upcoming sectoral legislative reviews, starting with the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.

1 A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, COM 2018(28)
2 Plastics: The Facts 2022, Plastics Europe

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