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Parliamentary questions
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26 January 2022
Question for written answer  E-000334/2022
to the Commission
Rule 138
Maria Spyraki (PPE)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Biodegradability standards in the circular economy

A recent scientific opinion on ‘biodegradability of plastics in the open environment’(1) highlighted the need for testing and certification schemes on biodegradation of plastics in the open environment. At the same time, the Commission, under Horizon Europe, has the ambition to support the development of innovative biodegradation technologies.

Even in the best waste management scenarios, there will always be a percentage of plastics waste which escapes into the open environment, as highlighted by leading experts(2).

Considering the EU’s desire to play a leading role in the circular economy, supporting innovation and setting the right standards will be key in addressing the issue both within the EU and also in non-EU countries. Can the Commission therefore answer the following:

1. In light of its forthcoming framework for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics, how will it remediate the current situation and ensure that innovation in the EU continues to be supported?

2. How does it intend to require that the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) standardisation bodies prepare such standards?

3. Can it explain how it intends to define the criteria or standards for biodegradability?

(1)Biodegradability of plastics in the open environment, SAPEA (2020): https://www.sapea.info/topics/biodegradability-of-plastics/
(2)World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and McKinsey & Company (2016), The New Plastics Economy — Rethinking the future of plastics. http://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications
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