Sunday 19 August 2012

Biodegradable Packaging in Poland

Greg Ganczewski, Packaging and Environmental Department, Polish Packaging Research & Development Center said there were many composting and anaerobic digestion (“biomethanisation”) systems in Poland and biowaste was separated at source.  A survey of packaging producers/users showed that only 11% used compostable packaging but 56% planned to start using it.  Roughly 50% said they’d use it if it cost no more than traditional plastics, 30% would be willing to pay more, and 20% would only switch if it was cheaper.  

A survey of consumers showed 80% of Poles produce compost in their back yard and 48% separate out the organics from their waste for composting. Of the environmentally friendly words used on packaging, “Biodegradable” was thought most important, “Multi-use” next, followed by “Recyclable”, and  “Made from natural/renewable resources”.  “Degradable” came last and was rated the least clear descriptor.

Examples of biodegradable packaging now in use in Poland were given:

  • ·         “Biotrem” containers made from wheat-bran. (milling waste)
  • ·         PLA cups and packaging (Huhtamaki)
  • ·         PLA mineral water bottles
  • ·         PLA Sidaplax film from Earthfirst.
  • ·         Cellophane sweet-wrap film (“Natureflex™ from Innovia)
  • ·         “BioErg” compostable bags for groceries and kitchen waste. (Dabrowa Gornicza)
  • ·         Compostable carrier bags at Carrefour hypermarkets.
  • ·         Trays from modified starch (Project of the Starch and Potato products Research Lab.)
Overall the acceptance of organics recycling, the good composting infrastructure and the interest in biodegradables meant that Poland provided good opportunities for bioplastics.  However the high cost of bioplastics and the limited knowledge of the differences between the new and old materials had to be addressed.

(from a paper given at the Biopolymer World Conference, Venice, April 2012)

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