On this page you will find reports that BBIA feels are relevant to the bioeconomy argument, both from the UK and other places. An increasing library of published material is becoming available, and should you wish to contribute your report to this page and share it with a wider audience, please contact us.

We particularly welcome reports from the scientific community and from businesses making pro-bioeconomy choices in their production and sourcing.

Biodegradable and compostable bioplastics: Situational analysis

This report prepared by Sphere presents an overview, identifies the level of development of the bioplastics sector in Europe and worldwide, and highlights the advantages, the stumbling blocks and the levers surrounding its deployment.

BBIA Position Paper on the Resources and Waste Strategy

BBIA outlines its response to the UK Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy, including the potential for the uptake of compostable materials and support for the mandatory separate collection of food waste.

Plastics in the Bioeconomy report

The report prepared by Ricardo Energy and Environment for the Biomass Biorefinery Network looks at the state of the market for plastics in the UK bioeconomy. The report summarises the current scale and types of compostables on the UK market, how the market for compostable plastics could grow in the medium term, identification of suitable biomass resources that could be used as feedstocks and the potential contribution of compostable plastics to the UK Plastics Pact targets for 2025, including for 100 per cent of packaging to be recyclable, reusable or compostable and for 70 per cent of all packaging to be recycled or composted.

Strategies to reduce the global carbon footprint of plastics

Experiments undertaken in 2012 in Italy on the possible effects of bioplastics contamination of traditional plastics recycling. ENGLISH VERSION

Outcome report: Sustainable & circular bioeconomy, the European way

Brussels 22 October 2018

The outcome report of the EU Bioeconomy conference held in Brussels on 22 October 2018, attended by more than 500 participants. The event was held following the publication of the new Bioeconomy Strategy on 11 October and looks at how the strategy can unleash the potential of the bio-based sectors to modernise Europe’s economy.

Experiments undertaken in 2012 in Italy on the possible effects of bioplastics contamination of traditional plastics recycling. ITALIAN VERSION

Completing the circle: Creating effective UK markets for recovered resources

Green Alliance analyses how adding ‘pull’ measures to existing policy would address market failures and encourage better product design and materials management for three materials that are fundamental to the economy: plastic, steel and critical raw materials.

PLA in the Waste Stream

The consequential increase in bio-based plastic packaging and the expected rise of new types of materials entering the recycling streams led the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) to initiate a study on the disposal, sorting, and recycling of bio-based plastics, in particular of PLA, an innovative polymer that is 100 percent bio-based, very versatile, and especially suitable for packaging applications.

Trials of compostable plastic films in German composting and AD plants, 2017

Biobased Plastics in a Circular Economy

A report carried out by CE Delft looking at under which conditions bio-based plastics (both biodegradable and non-biodegradable) are compatible with the circular economy.

NNFCC Market Perspective

Bio-based & Biodegradable Plastic in the UK

This market perspective from Bioeconomy consultants NNFCC explores the potential for bio-based plastics to respond to the plastic challenge and to take hold in the UK plastics market.

Government Office for Science

Food waste: A response to the policy challenge

Created by the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor and the Defra Chief Scientist, this policy paper addresses the issue of food waste in the UK and makes recommendations on how it can be reduced at various points in the supply chain, from the farm to the household.

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Investigation into plastic in food waste derived digestate and soil – Project report

Created by Aspray TJ (Heriot-Watt University) and Dimambro ME and Steiner HJ (Cambridge Eco Ltd), this report for SEPA investigates the potential impact of plastic contamination in agricultural soils to inform decision making regarding the production and use of food waste derived fertilisers. (Work undertaken between October 2016 and March 2017)

Microplastic transport in soil by earthworms

Matthias C. Rillig, Lisa Ziersch & Stefan Hempel
Despite great general benefits derived from plastic use, accumulation of plastic material in ecosystems, and especially microplastic, is becoming an increasing environmental concern. Microplastic has been extensively studied in aquatic environments, with very few studies focusing on soils. We here tested the idea that microplastic particles (polyethylene beads) could be transported from the soil surface down the soil profile via earthworms. We used Lumbricus terrestris L., an anecic earthworm species, in a factorial greenhouse experiment with four different microplastic sizes. Presence of earthworms greatly increased the presence of microplastic particles at depth (we examined 3 soil layers, each 3.5 cm deep), with smaller PE microbeads having been transported downward to a greater extent.

Collaboration on science and innovation: a future partnership paper

This paper, produced by the Department for Exiting the European Union, outlines the UK’s objectives for an ambitious science and innovation agreement with the EU. It sets out examples of where the UK sees potential mutual benefit in a close working relationship, exploring precedents for each. The paper invites discussion with the EU on how best to shape our future partnership in this area.

The European Commission regulation on fertilisers, draft of ENVI committee amendments June 2017

Opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down rules on the making available on the market of CE marked fertilising products and amending Regulations (EC) No 1069/2009 and (EC) No 1107/2009 (COM(2016)0157 – C8-0123/2016 – 2016/0084(COD))
Rapporteur: Elisabetta Gardini

Negotiating documents on Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom

Documents published as part of the European Commission’s approach to transparency on Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom.

European Bioplastics on the advantages of biodegradable soil mulch films

Improving Natural Capital – An assessment of progress

This report, the fourth composed by Parliament’s Natural Capital Committee, sets out the work done by the committee since March 2016. It also makes a series of recommendations to government on developing the government’s 25 year environment plan.

The difficulties of recycling PE agricultural mulches – soil and air pollution consequences

Produced by researchers at the Agricultural University of Athens, this study, published in the Waste Management journal, looks at technical specifications appropriate for the recycling of agricultural plastic wastes (APWs).

Food waste in England – EFRA Committee report

Following an inquiry into food waste in England, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee published its report, recommending that the government take greater action on food waste, introducing a national reduction target and work closely with local authorities to ensure that separate food waste collections are offered to as many households as possible within the UK.

Charting the bioplastics boom – Resource magazine

Resource magazine published an overview of the current state of the bioplastics market, with particular emphasis on the UK and the challenges the industry faces in order to continue its growth.

Urban Biocycles – Ellen MacArthur Foundation

This scoping paper focuses on the potential of the significant volume of organic waste flowing through the urban environment. The aim is to highlight the opportunities to capture value, in the form of the energy, nutrients and materials embedded in these flows, through the application of circular economy principles. The objective of this scoping paper is to present an initial exploration of the circular economy opportunities for the biocycle economy. It presents the first steps towards a deeper understanding enabled by a more comprehensive analysis.

Soil Erosion Threatens Food Production

Produced by David Pimentel and Michael Burgess from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University and published in the Agriculture journal, this study finds that soil erosion is one of the most serious threats facing world food production. Each year about 10 million ha of cropland are lost due to soil erosion, reducing the cropland available for world food production. Overall, soil is being lost from agricultural areas 10 to 40 times faster than the rate of soil formation imperiling humanity’s food security.

European Commission Bioeconomy Strategy, 2012

Launched and adopted in February 2012, Europe’s Bioeconomy Strategy addresses the production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into vital products and bio-energy. Under the lead of DG Research and Innovation, the Strategy was co-signed by several other Commission departments namely DG Agriculture and Rural Development, DG Environment, DG Maritime Affairs, and DG Industry and Entrepreneurship.

‘Oxo-biodegradable’ plastics and other plastics with additives for degradation

This background paper produced by European Bioplastics, an industry association representing the interests of bioplastics including bioplastics that are certified as biodegradable/ compostable, explains why it distances itself from additive-mediated conventional plastics, such as so-called “oxo-degradable” plastics, and what issues such materials can cause, as well as supporting consumers, retailers, and the industry in identifying unsubstantiated and misleading product claims.

Fantastic Bioplastic – Waste Management World

The International Solid Waste Association published a special edition of its magazine Waste Management World in August 2016 on the role of bioplastics in waste management.

Biodegradable Plastics: An Overview of the Compostability of Biodegradable Plastics and
its Implications for the Collection and Treatment of Organic Wastes

Prepared for the International Solid Waste Assocation (ISWA) by the Working Group on Biological Treatment of Waste, this paper aims to provide an overview of the different types of biodegradable plastics, their properties and their role in the management of organic wastes. The ISWA Working Group concludes that there is a need for biodegradable plastics to be clearly labelled, so to enhance consumer awareness and help distinguish compostable plastics from other non-compostable
polymers. There is the possibility to develop a globally recognised label based on the ISO standard.

Mapping and assessing the condition of Europe’s ecosystems: progress and challenges

This report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) finds that Europe’s ecosystems face increasing pressure to stay healthy amid rising pollution, overexploitation, urban sprawl and the effects of climate change. gives a snapshot of current ecosystem health in Europe. It identifies key gaps in data which are essential to properly assess the health of Europe’s many ecosystems. The report concludes improved mapping and assessments are needed in order to understand the problems faced by Europe’s ecosystems and to restore these key life-sustaining systems to better health. This understanding is vital for policymakers to come up with suitable responses.

Benefits and challenges of bio- and oxo- degradable plastics: A comparative literature study

Bio-degradable plastics were originally developed in order to solve specific waste issues related either to agricultural films or collection and separation of food waste. Oxo-degradable plastics are claimed to provide a potential solution to littering issues. As this is a very complex topic with various parameters such as raw materials, application sector and end-of-life questions and to avoid confusion and add clarity to the terms “biodegradable” and “oxo-degradable” plastics, PlasticsEurope commissioned OWS to carry out a comparative literature study on the “benefits and challenges of bio- and oxo-degradable plastics”.

The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics

Applying circular economy principles to global plastic packaging flows could ‘transform’ the plastics economy and ‘drastically reduce negative externalities’ such as leakage into oceans, says this report by the World Economic Forum and Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

The report uses analytical support from American consulting firm McKinsey & Company to create a vision of a closed-loop global plastics economy and suggests steps that could be taken to bring about the systemic shift needed to make the vision a reality.

Enzyme-mediated degradable plastics FAQ

Published by European Bioplastics in December 2014, this document seeks to answer frequently asked questions regarding enzyme-mediated plastics – conventional, fossil-based plastics with additives that are neither biodegradable nor compostable. The document covers how such materials should be used, what certification they require and how to spot materials that are being incorrectly marketed.

European Bioeconomy in Figures

A first extensive macro-economic study commissioned by the Bio-based Industries Consortium and carried out by the nova-Institute. It concludes that the total European Bioeconomy amounts to 2.1 trillion EUR turnover, and includes the food, feed and beverages sectors which are responsible for roughly half of the turnover. Bio-based industries – chemicals and plastics, pharmaceuticals, paper and paper products, forest-based industries, textile sector, biofuels and bioenergy – contribute with 600 billion EUR.

The future potential economic impacts of a bio-plastics industry in the UK

O. Hogan, R. Jayasuriya, S. Uppala, L. Holdgate and N. Skero. (2015). ‘The future potential economic impacts of a bio-plastics industry in the UK: A report for the Bio-based and Biodegradable Industries Association (BBIA)’. Produced by Cebr, an independent economics and business research consultancy.

Assessment of separate collection schemes in the 28 capitals of the EU

Published by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Environment and produced by the Copenhagen Resource Institute and BiPRO, this report assesses the legislation and practice of separate collection systems for waste across the 28 EU Member States.

Among its recommendations following analysis of each EU member state’s collection system, is a call for the obligatory source segregated collection of biowaste.

Waste or resource? Stimulating a bioeconomy

Published by the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee in March 2014, the report called on the Government to help change the way we view waste – seeing it as an opportunity rather than a problem. It also made a clear call to the Government to create a Waste Champion, to take on the job of developing a ‘brass from muck’ bioeconomy – one that could see enormous economic benefits as well as a considerable number of green jobs – and develop a long term plan for a high value bioeconomy.

Biodegradable Plastics and Marine Litter. Misconceptions, Concerns and Impacts on Marine Environments (2015)

This report from the United Nations Environment programme (UNEP) finds that complete biodegradation of plastics occurs in conditions that are rarely, if ever, met in marine environments, with some polymers requiring industrial composters and prolonged temperatures of above 50°C to disintegrate. There is also limited evidence suggesting that labelling products as ‘biodegradable’ increases the public’s inclination to litter.

Bio-based Building Blocks and Polymers in the World – Capacities, Production and Applications: Status Quo and Trends towards 2020

Produced by nova-Institute, this updated market study of bio-based building blocks used as precursors of bio-based polymers. Includes data from 2012 to 2014.Aeschelmann, F, Carus, M (2015). ‘Bio-based Building Blocks and Polymers in the World – Capacities, Production and Applications: Status Quo and Trends towards 2020’.

From the Sugar Platform to biofuels and biochemicals

Numerous potential pathways to biofuels and biochemicals exist via the sugar platform. This study uses literature surveys, market data and stakeholder input to provide a comprehensive evidence base for policymakers and industry – identifying the key benefits and development needs for the sugar platform.

The study created a company database for 94 sugar – based products, with some already commercial, the majority at research/pilot stage,and only a few demonstration plants crossing the “valley of death”.

Bioplastic: an economic and environmental evaluation by Francesco Bertolini from SDA Bocconi School of Management in Italy

In a 2013 presentation, Francesco Bertolini calls for more case studies to show that it is possible to have a successful bioeconomy, able to reach environmental and economic improvements.

Building a high value bioeconomy

The harnessing of biological resources or bioprocesses to produce food, fuels and chemicals is not new. For thousands of years wood has been used for energy, agriculture has focused on boosting and sustaining food production, and microbes have been exploited to produce ethanol. In the early 20th Century, we saw the introduction of commercial scale production of citric acid and penicillin via microbial fermentation.

Resource management: a catalyst for growth and productivity

The government is committed to driving economic growth, reducing the deficit and increasing UK exports. Moving towards a more circular economy can contribute to this and is essential for our future growth, increased resilience and environmental and human health.

Kitchen Waste Composting Trial End of Trial Report June 2007

Lancashire Environmental Fund funded the project under the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme (now Landfill Communities Fund). The project is titled ‘Kitchen Waste Composting Trial’ and has been set up as a partnership between LEF, Lancashire County Council and Preston City Council.

Where next for the European bioeconomy?

This publication presents the latest thinking on the bioeconomy from the Standing Committee
on Agricultural Research and the European Bioeconomy Panel. It is released on the occasion of
the Bioeconomy Stakeholders’ Conference organised by the Italian Presidency of the European
Union in Turin on 8-9 October 2014.

Analysis of retailers’ front of store plastic film collection

From January to July 2014, WRAP conducted a compositional analysis to identify what is being collected at front of store collection points for plastic film packaging in the UK. The overall aim of the project was to determine the efficiency of the On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) in promoting the film recycling message to consumers, and to determine, within reasonable bounds of confidence, the typical levels of contamination in retailers’ front of store plastic film collections, looking at different retailers across the four UK nations.

EU Knowledge Centre for Bioeconomy

Your source of information on bioeconomy. Find here all the latest data and information about bioeconomy, including statistics on investments in research, policy mapping, bioeconomy country profiles, data visualisation and analytical reports.

This website is managed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC).

Bio-based Building Blocks and Polymers in the World – Capacities, Production and Applications: Status Quo and Trends towards 2020

Germany’s nova-Institute carried out this study in collaboration with renowned international experts from the field of bio-based building blocks and polymers. The study investigates every kind of bio-based polymer and, for the first time, several major building blocks produced around the world.

An Economic Impact Analysis of the U.S. Biobased Products Industry A Report to the Congress of the United States of America

Golden, J.S., Handfield, R.B., Daystar, J. and, T.E. McConnell (2015). An Economic Impact Analysis of the U.S. Biobased Products Industry: A Report to the Congress of the United States of America. A Joint Publication of the Duke Center for Sustainability & Commerce and the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative at North Carolina State University.

Opportunities in the Emerging Bioeconomy

Jay S. Golden and Robert B. Handfield
July 25, 2014
This report explores the opportunities associated with the biobased economy (excluding fuel, food and feed) and finds that the biobased economy is, in fact, growing, and it offers great potential for increased job creation in numerous sectors across the U.S.

EU Bioeconomy Observatory website

Your source of information on bioeconomy. Find here all the latest data and information about bioeconomy, including statistics on investments in research, policy mapping, bioeconomy country profiles, data visualisation and analytical reports.

This website is managed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC).