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On October 24, the Plenary of the European Parliament voted in favor of supporting biodegradable mulch films in the revision of the EU Fertilizers Regulation.

The amendments, which have already been approved by the Parliament’s Committees on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO), on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI), and on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) in July earlier this year, acknowledge the innovative potential of biodegradable mulch films to provide positive agronomical effects and to help avoid the accumulation of microplastics on fields.

European Bioplastics (EUBP), the association for the bioplastics industry in Europe, welcomed the outcome. "The inclusion of biodegradable mulches in the EU Fertilizers Regulation will help to harmonize regulations across the EU Member States and to create a single market for bio-based and biodegradable materials used in agriculture," said François de Bie, Chairman of EUBP.

Biodegradable mulch films have been available on the EU market for many years. The approved amendments on biodegradable mulch films are linked to the criteria of the upcoming European standard CEN FprEN 17033 on biodegradation of plastic mulch films in soil developed by CEN-Technical Committee 249 on Plastics. The standard is expected to be published at the beginning of 2018.

Mulch films help to increase yield, improve the quality of crops, enhance weed control, and reduce water irrigation and pesticides. Additionally, they offer distinctive advantages at the end of the crop cycle as they can be left on the field and ploughed under.

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