Biobased plastics, i.e. plastics made from plants, a renewable resource, instead of mineral oil, are considered by many as being a promising technical and industrial solution for a sustainable provision of plastics. Many questions arise though regarding these sustainability claims. Dependent on the plant-based feedstock, the competition it creates with food and feed for land resources, the way it is grown, the manufacturing process of the plastic material from that feedstock, the life duration of the resulting plastic object and the recycling processes at end of life, the sustainability of the solution varies greatly.
This study considered the different forms of biobased plastics and the existing labels that claim to demonstrate the content of biobased plastic in a material or a product and the sustainability of this biobased plastic. It investigated several policy options on the content of a material or of a product in biobased plastic, and on the criteria for a biobased plastic to be considered as sustainable. It recommends to set up a single, EU-wide, but voluntary, labelling scheme for biobased content and for its sustainability, with the public sector being a pilot user of such biobased plastics, via Green Public Procurement schemes.