Clermont-Ferrand, France — The French Environment Minister recently announced a project of decree providing for a ban on single-use plastic carrier bags. The draft decree is intended to accelerate and provide impetus to the ongoing changes of manufacturers and consumers practices. From 1 July 2016, no more disposable plastic bags shall be distributed at supermarket checkouts. Then, as of 1 January 2017, only home-compostable plastic bags (other than checkout bags) that are – partly or fully – made from bio-sourced materials shall be permitted.
Plastic checkout bags that will be banned account for ca. 20,000 tons per year in France, while many other types of single-use bags, thinner than 50 microns, shall remain permitted if biodegradable and partially or totally bio-based: For fruit and vegetable bags, that alone account for ca. 35,000 to 40,000 tons per year, Carbios‘ technology is fully appropriate. Beside that, garbage bags and green waste bags which are not concerned by the decree provide an additional market opportunity.
Unprecedented business opportunities provided
Carbios develops enzymated plastics that match to lawmaker’s expectations. Such enzymated plastics biodegrade within months under household waste composting condition. There is no need for industrial composting facilities or tight control of moisture and temperature. The range of enzymated biodegradable plastics under development at Carbios also includes polymers that are partly or fully made from bio-sourced materials.
Carbios products shall therefore not only match to the immediately enforceable provisions of the planned decree, but also to those that shall be enforced at a later date. Especially, according to the draft legal text released, the minimal percentage of bio-sourced materials in the composition of the permitted plastic bags shall increase from 30 percent in 2017 up to 60 percent in 2025.
„We are very proud of the innovations we’ve been developing in France, said Jean-Claude Lumaret, CEO of Carbios. Our unique technology allows for a zero waste offering and provides unprecedented business opportunities. It helps the plastic industry to face with increasingly stringent regulation, reinforce its competitiveness and increase its product appeal for the consumers“.
Validated processes for PCL and PLA
After having validated a production process for biodegradable PCL (polycaprolactone) at pilot-scale, Carbios validated in June 2015 a second process for the manufacturing of PLA (polylactic acid), a polymer that is both bio-sourced and biodegradable. The results were achieved within the frame of Thanaplast®, a large collaborative R&D program on plastic life cycle launched and led by Carbios. These remarkable achievements earned Carbios a „Europe 1 Environment Trophy“ award in the category of „Eco-innovative startup“.
„We aim at taking soon our first plastics with controlled lifetime to the next stage with a full-scale industrial and commercial demonstration, Jean-Claude Lumaret emphasized. This would also enable us to implement our business model with selected industrial partner(s)“.
The draft French decree is in line with an overall trend, especially in the EU, for more stringent regulations on the life cycle of plastics and its impact on the environment. It confirms and strengthens the relevance of Carbios‘ products and processes.