Taking action on plastics pollution: are biodegradable plastics the answer?

Every year, more and more plastics end up in our oceans and rivers and on the land. Once there, they pose risks to our environment and the health of living creatures. Conventional plastics persist for centuries, but biodegradable plastics are designed by scientists to break down in a few weeks or years. Could biodegradable plastics help us solve the pollution problem, or are they are a problem in themselves?

Watch this international webinar, recorded on 4 February 2021, where a distinguished panel of experts explore the potential role that biodegradable plastics could play in our society, and what practical steps are needed next to shape European policy on the issue.


  • Professor Nicole Grobert, Chair, European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors
  • Silvia Forni, Policy Officer, European Commission Directorate-General for Environment
  • Professor Richard Thompson, Director of the Marine Institute at Plymouth University and Member of the SAPEA Working Group
  • Dr Miriam Weber, Managing Director of HYDRA Marine Sciences and Member of the SAPEA Working Group

Chair: Professor Ole Petersen, Vice-President, Academia Europaea
Moderator: Esther Kentin, Leiden University

This event followed the publication of a SAPEA evidence review report “Biodegradability of plastics in the open environment” and a Scientific Opinion by the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors of the same title.


Event details


Nicole Grobert

Silvia Forni

Richard Thompson

Miriam Weber