Standards and Regulations for the Bio‐based Industry STAR4BBI

M.J.A. van den Oever, Iris Vural Gürsel, H.L. Bos, Lara Dammer, Tatevik Babayan, Luana Ladu, Janire Clavell, Minique Vrins, Janwillem van den Berg

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


This report describes possible solution directions to overcome market entry barriers due to regulation and standardisation that companies that are active in the bio‐based economy experience. The market entry barriers were investigated and described in the deliverable D2.1. Five main hurdles were described in D2.1:
‐ A number of issues around End‐of‐Life of bio‐based products
‐ Certification and standards
‐ Biofuel policy, and the fact that supporting policy for bio‐based products is missing
‐ Missing long term policy that helps to promote bio‐based products
‐ Communication and image.

In order to define possible solution routes to the hurdles, for each hurdle the
relevant stakeholders and their drivers towards the hurdle were investigated. Based on this investigation directions for solutions were defined and discussed with various stakeholders. Furthermore a workshop was held where the solutions were presented and discussed with a broad group of stakeholders.

Solution directions defined for the first four identified hurdles are:
‐ End‐of‐Life issues: There is no general agreement on which EOL option is most preferable for a several bio‐based products. This relates to present regulations, recycling targets, and industrial operation practices and business models of waste processors. All parties involved would benefit from clear LCA data for EOL options for (groups of) products. This would allow governments, municipalities, consumers and waste processors to decide which product best goes where. Clear icons indicating the preferable EOL, EU wide can help to minimise products going into the “wrong” bin. And in particular cases it may be useful to indicate what is not the desired EOL route, e.g. for products which look like a particular
material but in fact are not. Furthermore research on recycling of bio‐based plastics and composting of biodegradable plastics is proposed with both the bio‐based plastics suppliers and the waste processors being stakeholders in the project.
‐ Certification and standards: Several possible solutions are proposed to overcome the hurdle related to certification and standards. In principle, it is important to involve as many stakeholders as possible in the standardization process, in order to achieve a widely supported middle ground that corresponds as well as possible with everyday practice. Besides this, to give new materials the possibility to enter the market, standards should focus on the functioning of materials instead of the material itself. In the field of certificates, solutions lie in mutual compatibility, alignment and transparency in tests. However, aligning all involved parties can be (politically) challenging due to competition (between schemes). Moreover, amending standards is time consuming, but in the end
these proposed solutions could open the door more easily to new bio‐based materials.
‐ Biofuel policy: The RED puts pressure on availability and price of biomass for bio‐based products. Different options are considered as potential solutions. One option is to reform the RED in order to integrate bio‐based chemicals and materials. Another option is without changing the RED to create a link of bio‐based materials to the RED through a “bio‐ticket” system. The third option considered is a new directive special for bio‐based materials. Furthermore a harmonized classification system of wastes and residues across EU is
necessary, which needs to be implemented under the EU Waste Framework Directive (WFD). Where the use of feedstocks by the bio‐based products industry is possible, such Elimination of hurdles in standards and regulation uses must be incentivized. The same classification system that will be needed to be
developed by the WFD will need to be adopted by the Biofuel policy for defining the feedstocks of “advanced biofuels”.
‐ Missing long term policy: In order to level the playing field between fossil‐based and biobased products two possible solutions are proposed. In the first place, the producer should be responsible for paying for the negative externalities of the production processes (e.g. possible damage to the environment) and not the whole society. Furthermore, sustainable
certifications, currently often asked only for bio‐based products, should be requested for all products. The lack of clear, robust methodologies and criteria for assessing the sustainability of both bio‐based and fossil‐based products represents a major gap that is hampering the future development of the bio‐based industry. Development of the same sustainability criteria for all types of feedstock (bio‐based and fossil based) and all sectors (materials and fuels/energy) across the whole life‐cycle (material production, use and EOL)
is proposed as a potential solution. And harmonization of LCA procedures is described to be important for this.

During the investigation process it was found that the fifth hurdle, communication and image, was an integral part of the other four hurdles, it was therefore not investigated and presented separately, but integral with the other hurdles.

The solution directions described in this report are focused specifically on the hurdles that were collected in D2.1 by interviewing a number of companies. During the investigation also more general aspects to stimulate the introduction of bio‐based products came up. An overview of these is presented in appendix A.

The analysis laid down in this report has served as the basis for a deeper investigation and proposals to overcome specific market barriers, which are presented in D4.4, and proposals for supporting policy, presented in D3.3.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Food & Biobased Research
Number of pages52
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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