(*Honnertzwanzeg Sekonnen - 120 seconds – presents essential information concerning packaging and can be read in under 2 minutes. The content will be focusing on news concerning packaging that are relevant to you as a member of Valorlux.)


Bioplastics: a solution to reduce the environmental impact of your packaging?

The term “bioplastic” has 2 meanings:


  1. biobased plastic, which is produced with biological and renewable materials (such as corn starch or cellulose); and/or
  2. biodegradable plastic, which can also contain conventional plastic.

Biobased plastic is not necessarily biodegradable.

Some companies are choosing this option for their packaging, but does it really have a lesser impact on the environment than conventional plastic?

When speaking about plastics, the terms “biodegradable” and “ compostable” have no legal value. The European Union is currently working on a legal framework that would establish obligations concerning the labelling of packaging and precise definitions of the various terms. This would allow consumers to differentiate these resins and to be given clear sorting instructions. A few certifications already exists, but they are neither mandatory, nor are they supervised by the EU.

What should be done with packaging made of bioplastics after their use?

Even though biodegradable plastic is often considered to be easily biodegradable or compostable, these processes are only possible in specific controlled settings. This packaging needs to be eliminated through industrial composting (anaerobic, without oxygen) and cannot be disposed of in the compost in a garden or the biowaste bin (aerobic, with oxygen). The degradation of bioplastic leaves behind microplastics.

Packaging that is considered biodegradable is also more likely to be thrown into nature by consumers who think that it will not contaminate the environment long term. In Luxembourg, littering costs taxpayers €1.2M each year for the cleaning on the sides of national roads and motorways, not including the cleaning operations within municipalities.

In practice, biodegradable plastics that end up in the biowaste in Luxembourg are removed in order to allow the composting to work properly. This is possible because the quantities are small enough. These quantities should decrease even further, as law A267 of 9th June 2022 states that no biodegradable plastic, including biodegradable or compostable bin bags, can be thrown into the biowaste bin (art. 25 §4).

Can bioplastics be recycled?

Biobased plastic packaging can theoretically be recycled, but only of it is completely separated from other packaging. In Luxembourg, the sorting methods are not programmed to distinguish them, so most of this packaging ends up in sorting residues (refuse) and is not recycled.

Is bioplastic an option to make your packaging more eco-friendly?

Currently, bioplastics are an issue because of their impact on waste management and the microplastic residue they create, it is thus preferable at this stage:


  • to avoid the use of packaging when possible;
  • to use conventional plastic that can be easily recycled, such as transparent PET bottles; and/or
  • to follow the evolution of the legal framework surrounding bioplastics and to make sure appropriate treatment facilities exist before following this route.


Your Valorlux team




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