Biodegradable Plastics: How Do We Engage With Consumers and Society?

Webinar organised by SAPEA and the Royal Irish Academy (RIA)

Public awareness and concern over plastics pollution, especially in open environments such as oceans, rivers and land, are at an all-time high. At the same time, the public is often uncertain and confused about what to do with plastic items after use. The increasing availability of products made from biodegradable plastics is likely to add to the confusion.

The EU aims to transform the way plastics and plastics products are designed, used and recycled. There are actions planned on several fronts – improving plastic recycling, curbing waste and littering, encouraging innovation and promoting global action. However, for these plans to work, we need effective waste management infrastructures, coupled with strong engagement and cooperation with the public and society in general.

This interactive webinar will facilitate discussion between an expert panel and a live international audience, addressing a range of questions including:

  • How are biodegradable plastics perceived, understood and used by consumers and other sectors of society?
  • How can communication, education and labelling help support the appropriate use, management and disposal of biodegradable plastics?
  • What market-based initiatives and policy options can help us achieve the necessary awareness and behaviour change to prevent biodegradable plastics that are designed for managed waste such as composting, instead ending up in the open environment?


We will also be showcasing the work of artist and printmaker, Heather Nunn. Through her work, she expresses her passion for the environment whilst challenging the imbalances between modern society and nature.  Heather will be introduced by Professor Richard Thompson, Director of the Marine InstituteUniversity of Plymouth, Member of the SAPEA Working Group

This event followed the publication of a SAPEA evidence review report “Biodegradability of plastics in the open environment” and a Scientific Opinion by the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors of the same title and  is hosted by the Royal Irish Academy


21 May 2021, 15:00 CEST

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Open to the public; registration mandatory

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