Plastic pollution: Are biodegradable plastics a solution?

Plastic pollution is a worldwide issue of increasing concern. Each year, more and more plastic ends up in the natural environment, raising concerns of risk to the environment, animal and human health. And, while biodegradable plastics could be part of the solution, they also present certain challenges. Many biodegradable plastic products actually biodegrade only in certain specific environments, or only in industrial composting facilities, rather than in the open environment more generally.

The event was hosted by Mohammed Chahim MEP, Co-chair of the Circular Economy Working Group of the European Parliament Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development.

This webinar reviewed the latest scientific evidence on the biodegradability of plastics from SAPEA and discuss the policy recommendations made by the European Commission’s independent Group of Chief Scientific Advisors — recommendations which will inform the forthcoming Commission’s policy framework related to bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics, and help to define the main challenges and policy actions needed in this area. In doing so, this European Parliament Intergroup event, co-organised with SAPEA, brings together EU policymakers and representatives from both the private sector and NGO communities, to openly discuss and explore the opportunities and challenges ahead in relation to biodegradable plastics.


13:00 – 13:10           Welcome remarks by MEP Mohammed Chahim

13:10 – 13:20           Introductory remarks by Professor Ole Petersen, Vice-President, Academia Europaea

13:20 – 13:40           Keynote intervention by European Commission

  • Patrick Child, Deputy Director General, DG RTD
  • Kestutis Sadauskas, Director of Circular Economy & Green Growth, DG ENV

13:40 – 13:50           Professor Nicole Grobert, Chair of the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors to the European Commission

13:50 – 14:00           Dr. Miriam Weber, Managing Director of HYDRA Marine Sciences and Member of the SAPEA expert working group on the biodegradability of plastics in the open environment, & Dr. Michael Sander, Senior Scientist, Research Group Leader and Lecturer in Environmental Chemistry at ETH Zurich & Member of the SAPEA expert working group on the biodegradability of plastics in the open environment

14:00 – 14:10           Jean-Marc Nony, Director of Sustainable Development, SPHERE group

14:10 – 14:20           Ioana Popescu, Senior Programme Manager, Environmental Coalition on Standards (ECOS)

14:20 – 14:35           Reactions from MEPs

  • MEP Delara Burkhardt
  • MEP Stéphane Bijoux

14:35 – 14:50           Q&As discussion with the audience

14:50 – 15:00           Closing remarks by MEP Mohammed Chahim


Event details


MEP Mohammed Chahim

Ole Petersen

Patrick Child

Kestutis Sadauskas

Nicole Grobert

Miriam Weber

Michael Sander

Jean-Marc Nony

Ioana Popescu

MEP Delara Burkhardt

MEP Stéphane Bijoux