Single-use plastics banned: the conflict over bio-compostable plastics remains

The Sup directive (single use plastic) which prohibits the use of dishes and other crockery in disposable plastic. All in all, if we consider that Italy was one of the world’s largest users of disposable plastic plates, it is even extraordinary that the change has happened, is happening, without jolts and protests and apparently respecting the new rules.

There remains an open conflict, which is the one about biocompostable plastics. The Italian transposition decree “saves” the possibility of using bio-compostable plates and cutlery. There are those who say it is a scam, or an Italian cunning. But the history of this conflict is different. In Italy, experimentation, industry, the culture of Mater Bi and bio-compostable plastics was born and developed, which has grown in tandem with the separate collection of organic waste. As had already happened with bags, the cutlery in bio-compostable plastic is perfectly suited to the composting of organic products and therefore simplifies and they help separate waste collection.

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The confrontation in Brussels over the parameters, plausibility and sustainability of compostable bioplastics has been going on for years. Environmental associations are split between those who appreciate and those who do not appreciate the “Italian way”, but it is certainly not a question of the rear. True, the “compostable tableware” solution is part of the disposable, while the ideal solution is the re-use of the same dish. But many times it is not possible to do it. So much so that the same Brussels officials who are strict with the dishes – they would not even want them compostable – then made a gigantic exception for the disposable glasses that are exempted from the ban. And therefore traditional disposable plastic cups can still be used, which are not only not recyclable but not even compostable, of course (a little true story: we distributed hot meals to homeless people and it got difficult without a cutlery. Reusable metal cutlery is expensive, traditional plastic cutlery is unrecyclable, bio-compostable cutlery seems the realistic solution).

In the last few days, a new Brussels document has circulated that reopens the dispute with Italy for bio-compostable dishes. It is paradoxical that, on the other hand, while there are those who remain against compostable dishes, European and Italian environmentalism seem not to notice of the massacre that is being done towards separate waste collection for an absolutely exaggerated and unfounded anti-Covid concern. This is only happening in Italy and is not just a controversial environmental and scientific issue, but the perverse effect of a set of bureaucratic fears.

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