The Bio-based and Biodegradable Industries Association (BBIA), a UK trade body for companies producing bio-based and biodegradable products that promote the circular bioeconomy, has marked its first steps as an association by officially launching its website and requesting a meeting with Resource Minister Rory Stewart to present its policy requests.
The website, bbia.org.uk, was launched earlier this month to provide a platform for showcasing members’ work on furthering the bioeconomy, and provide a coherent voice for the UK’s bio-industry.
It is the first public platform for the BBIA, which is now officially operating after becoming a registered UK entity and appointing its board members.
David Newman, Managing Director of the BBIA and President of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), stated: “Within just two months, we have appointed a board, established the association, appointed an MD, and have created our website, as well as having all administration and accounts management in place.
“We welcome all businesses, academics, professionals and start-ups in the bio sector to join the BBIA, and you can find join-up details on the new website. We welcome everyone sending us articles and reports to publish, as well as brief news updates on the bio sector, events, seminars, webinars, and other information.
“We are planning our launch meeting in the near future, after the summer recess, and in this we will be presenting our first study on how biodegradable and bio-based packaging can contribute to resource management and the wider UK economy. So watch the website for updates on this!”
BBIA to focus on improving investment climate
Newman highlighted that the BBIA will now be focusing on understanding how it can “help make the UK a country in which bio-based and biodegradable producers will want to invest”.
Noting that “hundreds of millions” are being invested in these industries in countries including Germany, Brazil, the USA, France, Italy, and Sweden, Newman said that there was “little” investment happening in the UK. As such, the BBIA is focusing on policies that can help change this.
He added: “Some of these involve the waste and resources question, because organics recovery is a key issue in soil quality, and the bioeconomy sector is all about improving the environment in general, and soil quality specifically. Soil is a non-renewable resource we are consuming every day, and bio-products returned to soil through organic waste management can help maintain soil quality.
“The board has met twice and its action plan… involves these specific policy matters. We have requested an appointment with Rory Stewart to present our policy requests.”
According to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee’s report ‘Waste or resource? Stimulating a bioeconomy’, the potential economic market value of the bioeconomy in the UK is around £100 billion. The bioeconomy is defined as ‘the use of biological feedstocks to generate economic outputs in the form of energy, materials or chemicals’, and it is estimated that around £6 billion of the £60 billion UK chemical industry could be replaced with renewable biochemicals (such as those produced from waste materials) if the bioeconomy were further developed.
Other potential benefits of developing a bioeconomy include: boosting sustainable practices in business; creating jobs; making use of brownfield sites (through facility construction); and enabling the UK to export new products that are currently imported (for example, compostable packaging).
However, the committee concluded that although there are ‘promising signs that a waste-based bioeconomy could deliver substantial economic returns and support a considerable number of jobs… there is clearly uncertainty in these predictions’. Consequently, it argued that ‘government, industry and academia should take steps to further characterise this opportunity and ensure its full potential is realised’.