What Happened When Italy Banned Non-Biodegradable Bags

Bioplastics have revolutionized the world of carrier bags and following repeated interventions by the Italian legislator have since 2011 decreed the banning of non-compostable bags and enabling their progressive replacement with bags of certified compostable bioplastics. The impacts of this revolution have been wide reaching:

Bio-based Economy

Leverage on the bio-based sector and opportunities for integration with traditional chemistry: creating a climate conducive to high-risk investments as a force for growth in the country.

In particular:

  • the development of products related to bioplastics as additives for tires, bio-lubricants, products for agriculture with low impact, etc., which sees the “exploitation” of bioplastics as a driver of innovation in the system;
  • market potential of about 150,000 tonnes / year, creating opportunity to activate a major integrated industrial chain for the country and for the chemical sector;
  • turnover potential of around 1.5 billion euro, with the creation of several thousand jobs for the production of raw materials and for the related processing facilities, production of finished products and marketing;
  • in consideration of the fact that the consumption of plastics in Italy is equal to about 7 million tonnes, of which at least 2 million tonnes is in disposable applications, the induction of additional industrial initiatives over the bag for the take away goods;
  • greater confidence by companies active in the sector to deal decisively with their investments and banks to lend, all without disbursements from the state;
  • expanding the product range and decreasing the risk of Asian competition using existing facilities.

Agricultural World

Leverage effect on agriculture: industry and agriculture increasingly allied in a common mission to raise local resources and ecosystems. In particular:

  • creating sustainable agricultural supply chains and integrated with industrial production, activating new partnerships between the agricultural and industrial sectors and providing significant opportunities for growth and differentiation of income for the farming community;
  • availability and maximizing the use of agricultural wastes for the self-generation of energy, and usable also for the production of new chemical intermediates renewable through the activation of new technologies;
  • maximizing the use of contaminated land through dedicated local crops designed to invigorate the soil and act in terms of “soil remediation”;
  • use of quality compost in agriculture for combating desertification of soils.

Environment

Environmental effects: boost to waste collection and improved availability of quality compost. In particular:

  • significant contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gases, with improved recycling of all waste and availability of quality compost;
  • increase the quality of the organic waste collection (avoiding contamination from plastic waste) and impetus to spread wide the practice of recycling across the country;
  • decrease in the use of disposable bags (polluting the sea and the goods at a higher risk of leakage into the environment) by 35 to 50% in supermarkets

People and Society

Effects on citizens and society: growth and employment through driving the forces of strong innovation. In particular:

  • fostering research in products “bio-based”, with the possibility of reviving the scientific training of young people, to create start- ups, to push the interaction between businesses, universities, research centres; increased sensitivity of citizens to the end of life of products and to promote more sustainable practices;
  • employment opportunities in employment in areas heavily affected by the crisis, thanks to the virtuous processes of conversion of installations in biorefineries underway in Italy.