Summary fact-finding sector session on single-use plastic (SUPS)


Can we use seaweed-based plastics to replace SUP in Europe? This was the question we discussed at the last sector meeting on 12 October 2023. The question is related to action point 4 of the 10-point action plan 2030.   

The European Union has set an EU SUP Directive to reduce marine litter. All EU countries must meet this directive, but it allows individual countries to decide how to legislate and achieve this goal. 

As a result, each country is developing its own policies to limit the use of SUPs (single-use plastics). This makes it difficult for bioplastics companies to keep track of legislation when each country classifies algae-based plastics differently.  

European seaweed regulations

As your sector organisation, we want to work towards uniform European regulations for seaweed production and the four main seaweed markets: food, feed, biostimulants and bio-based materials such as bioplastics. 

To clarify the legislations we talked to 15 members involved in bioplastics. We also invited Wido van Drecht, an expert on packaging regulations in the Netherlands, to clarify the Dutch situation.  

Wido described the EU SUP Directive as translated into Dutch legislation, as you can see in the powerpoint. He also pointed out a major challenge in the Netherlands: from July this year, no single-use plastics will be allowed for on-site consumption unless there is sufficient collection and high-quality recycling. 

Plastic free

The definition of plastic free in the Netherlands means: Only polymers that have not been chemically modified and are naturally occurring are allowed. The definition high end recycling means in the Netherlands: The packaging is recycled to become similar packaging with the same purpose.

Wido explained that it's very difficult to achieve the 'plastic-free' definition in the Netherlands, and probably less difficult outside the Netherlands because of the definition. However, last week Notpla received confirmation from the Dutch government that this only applies to their seaweed-based boxes.

Report of the session

During the Sector Session, we talked to members from the packaging sector about the bottlenecks, challenges and opportunities of the legislation and directive. In our knowledge base, members can find the powerpoint, the discussion and the key notes and conclusions from this sector session. Interested in the report but not yet a member? Join our community