by consumer organisations in four countries1 found chemicals of concern in single-use tableware made of popular non-plastic alternatives, such as disposable plant fibre bowls, paper straws, or palm leaf plates. Several products were also found to mislead consumers with unsubstantiated green claims. BEUC and its member organisations urge the EU to ensure that single-use plastic alternatives are safe and do not mislead consumers.


In total, over half of sampled products contained one or more unwanted chemicals above recommended levels (53%), including some that are suspected to cause cancer. Additional 21% contained these chemicals close to the limits. With many single-use plastic items about to be banned in the EU (as of 3 July 2021),2 manufacturers and consumers are increasingly turning to alternatives made of bamboo, paper, or palm leaves. Unlike plastics, the safety of these materials is unregulated in the EU as no specific rules exist.


The findings also indicate that the alleged green credentials of popular plastic alternatives may mislead consumers: several sampled products claim to be compostable or biodegradable. Yet, the test found that many contain ‘forever’ chemicals that may not fully degrade in nature for hundreds of years, migrating into the environment and accumulating in soil, water and living organisms.


Monique Goyens, Director General of BEUC, commented:

“With single-use plastic plates and cups soon to be a thing of the past, plant-based and paper alternatives are naturally gaining popularity among consumers. It is wonderful that the EU is finally weeding out throwaway plastic, but it must equally weed out toxic chemicals in the alternatives.


“The fact that many plastic alternatives are loaded with ‘forever’ chemicals sadly shows that one persistent pollutant is being replaced with another. The results we publish today prove that current EU food packaging rules fail consumers. It is high time the EU get its act together and comes up with strict food packaging rules that both protect consumers and the environment.


“Green labels such as ‘natural’, ‘biodegradable’, or ‘compostable’ have no place on single-use dinnerware that contain persistent chemicals. Such bogus claims create confusion among consumers and make it difficult for them to identify the plates, straws or bowls that are more environmentally friendly than others. The EU needs to clean up the food packaging market from all misleading green claims.”


Test details:

The survey sampled:


  • 57 items, such as disposable bowls made from straw or bagasse (i.e., fibres from sugarcane stalks), paper straws, and palm leaf tableware.


  • Three categories of items: 23 bowls and plates made from moulded natural fibres, mainly bagasse; 18 paper straws; and 16 palm leaf bowls and plates.


  • Certain groups of chemicals and pesticides:
    • Fluorinated compounds (PFAS), also called ‘forever’ chemicals because they persist in nature. PFAS are widely used to make food packaging and other consumer products water-, grease- and/or stain-resistant. PFAS are linked to cancers, IQ loss, and other severe health effects.
    • Chloropropanols may emerge during the manufacture of paper packaging; they have cancer-causing properties.
    • Pesticides may be present in plant-based food contact items either as residues of the pesticides used to grow sugarcane, palm trees and other natural materials or from processing the raw material. Exposure to certain pesticides is linked to cancers, birth defects, and endocrine disruption, among others.


Access the complete test results .

The newest line, which was put into operation in early April, is worth 1.5m euros and is the last part of an investment launched last year. The line is currently in test mode and production is expected to start at full speed in a few weeks.


This is the largest production line of Extrapack. It is assembled entirely by the company’s team, with components from China, Germany and Ireland, while the structure is manufactured in Bulgaria. The line will produce nonwoven textiles for medical and hygienic products, furniture production, interior textiles, etc.


With the new machine, the company already has three lines for spunbond textiles. In addition, last year two lines were installed for meltblown textiles, which are mainly used for filtering devices (masks, filters for clean rooms, etc.). All of them are located in the third plant of the company near Veliko Tarnovo.


The introduction of the new production lines allows Extrapack to contribute to the fight against the COVID pandemic, in which non-woven products – protective clothing, masks, socks and filters – are extremely important.


Another reason for the investment is the shift of supply chains from China to Europe and the increased demand for products and raw materials produced in the EU. Non-woven products are mainly exported to Eastern Europe, Italy, Turkey and the former Yugoslav republics.


Despite the uncertainty at the beginning of the pandemic, Extrapack managed to adjust to the new realities in a short time and according to preliminary data expects about 20% higher turnover for 2020.


Last year, there was also a big increase in the demand for recycled polyethylene packaging for courier services, and the company launched new paper envelopes for shipments.


Currently, Extrapack is preparing to build the next, fourth, plant specifically for paper bags. It will be located next to the third plant, and the purchase of the land is currently being completed. The new factory is expected to be operational in about two years.

The Polymers for Europe Alliance was set up by the European Plastics Converters association (EuPC) in 2015 due to the shortage of polymers for converters in Europe. Its objective is to build and maintain good communications between suppliers and customers of polymers and additives in Europe following the catastrophic situation during the first semester of 2015.


The monitoring of Force Majeure declarations globally of polymer producers by the Alliance showed an alarming increase in issued declarations by numerous polymer producers towards the end of 2020. Especially the supply situation for Polyolefins and PVC worsened significantly, making it difficult for converting companies to get the necessary material to keep their production running.


“The increased declarations of Force Majeure and rapid producer margin improvement resembles the situation at the beginning of the Force Majeure crisis in 2015.” Says Ron Marsh, Chairman of the Polymers for Europe Alliance. “We will continue to monitor the developments very closely to ensure the interests of the plastics converting industry are heard and to try to avoid a second 2015.”


With some polymer supplies getting very tight, plastics converters have difficulties to purchase the needed raw materials at reasonable prices and passing on the large price increases to their customers. Sandwiched between big polymer suppliers and users of plastics, the many SMEs that form the plastics converting industry remain in a difficult position to recover these price spikes.

The petrochemical company Lukoil is building a new plant for polypropylene (PP) in Burgas, Bulgaria.


The company has acquired a license for a production line “Novolen” with a capacity of 280,000 tons / year from the American company Lummus, Texas (


The contract also includes the technical design planning, training and services as well as a supply deal for catalysts, including metallocene types.


Lukoil already has a PP production line with a capacity of 80,000 t / y in Burgas.


The group also has another PP production facility in its Russian “Stavrolen” complex in the city of Budyonnovsk, which has a capacity of 120,000 tons / year.



According to PlasticsEurope, the EU countries produce 58 million tonnes of plastic each year, about half of which becomes waste. Each year 25 million tonnes of plastic waste are dumped in Europe and only 30% of it is recycled, 39% is incinerated and 30% is landfilled. On January 16, 2018, the European Commission adopted the “European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy “, which is part of the transition to the sustainable use of resources.


In an effort to contribute to achieving Strategy goals, the Bulgarian company Askania Casting Ltd. developed and implemented a pilot project – resource efficient and innovative technological line for production of plastic parts for fans, which aims to prevent the formation of plastic waste in the existing production of the company, thus contributing to the sustainable development of the Bulgarian and European economy. The implementation of the new technology is a major change in the whole production process. At the heart of the innovative production line is a device for detecting and controlling changes in the properties of the material during the injection molding process, which is patented with two patents – Patent № US 9,475,226 B2 / 25.10.2016 and Patent № US 9 481 119 B2 / 01.11.-2016.


In order to ensure the optimal functioning of the device, all stages and units of production have been modernized. After purchasing a new injection molding machine with the relevant technical and functional characteristics, an iMFLUX device has been installed on it, as well as injection molds of a new type – with a hot nozzle, which allow the correct operation of the device and achieve optimal results in production, not only in terms of achieving a lack of plastic scrap, but also in terms of improving the quality of injection-molded plastic parts. The use of the injection molds with a hot nozzle leads to the absence of a funnel, and results to saving of plastic material and minimum produced defect details.


Additionally the plastic that solidifies in the injection molding machine when changing a tool /injection mold/,during the initial start-up or after a stop for changing of the material, is of good quality due to temperature control of the melt. Therefore, after grinding with a plastic grinder, the parts can be used again after mixing with virgin material. This leads to full use of the raw plastic material and the absence of production waste and significantly increases the resource efficiency of the manufacturing process. The introduction of the new technology also leads to a significant reduction in the use of freshwater. The implemented technological solution is a production (process) innovation. In practice, the innovation is the set of high-tech injection molding machine on which the patented iMFLUX device is mounted to detect and control changes in the properties of the material during the injection molding process.


iMFLUX helps to improve the process parameters as the melt enters the injection mold – allowing for quick filling of the mold and subsequent uniform holding pressure, which leads to higher part quality and material savings. This is the result of the physical measurement and active control of the pressure and temperature of the melt that enters the injection mold, which provides real-time material feedback and the opportunity to control the melt within milliseconds. The new technology provides unprecedented advantages for injection molding machine control, and can integrate and simplify the product design and the production processes based on the recommended pressure limits for injection molding, packaging, retention and optimization of temperature ranges and to save material without lessening the technological and functional characteristics of the product.


  • How does iMFLUX improve the injection molding process


With iMFLUX, the injection molding process is closed with absolute uniformity – cycle by cycle. The low constant pressure during the process removes some irreversible processes from conventional injection molding. The design of the part and the mold guide the iMFLUX at what speed to fill the socket in order to maintain the filling pressure. For tools with many sockets – constant pressure is distributed to all parts. Each socket from the first cycle to the last will be filled with the same pressure and will produce the same quality parts.



  • Lower injection pressure
  • A smaller machine can be used for the same product
  • Faster cycles
  • Improved quality the final product
  • Better CPX index (statistical index for the capabilities of a process within certain limits)
  • Improved OEE index (overall equipment efficiency)
  • Less operator intervention
  • Automatic adjustment when changing the viscosity and other injection molding conditions
  • Less scrap
  • Less need for maintenance

iMFLUX can compensate for variations in the matrix-machine interaction process, but also the way material is fed. The same volume of production will be manufactured for less time, with lower levels of energy consumption.

On October 7, 2020, a conference of companies representatives of the the Polymer industry was held to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of BAP.


The event began with a presentation by Mr. Anton Peychev, Senior Expert in the Directorate “Waste Management and Soil Protection” in the MOEW on “Responsibilities and challenges for plastic processors related to the forthcoming changes in national legislation with a view to transposing Directive (EU) 2019/904 of the European Parliament on reducing the impact of the single use plastic products, as well as waste management in connection with the circular economy and EP Directive 2018/852 on packaging and packaging waste.


In his presentation, Mr. Peychev acquainted the guests of the event with the main steps and time stages through which the process of transposition of the EU Directives will pass.


Mr. Peychev answered the questions of the participants regarding the changes in the national legislation and called on the members of the association, as representatives of the Polymers industry in Bulgaria, to send their opinions and questions to the MOEW so that the considerations and ideas of the business to be taken into account in the preparation of the new legislation, which is to be adopted during the transposition of the two directives in Bulgaria.

With its latest agreement on the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and coronavirus recovery fund, the European Council has also approved the implementation of the so-called plastic tax as of the 1st of January 2021. The plan foresees a €0.80/kg levy on non-recycled plastic packaging waste to be paid by member states into the EU budget.



While the tax has been presented by the European Commission as “contribution to the EU budget designed to incentivise member states to increase recycling from plastic waste”, the European plastics industry is warning that it might have the opposite effect. Further fiscal measures are not the most efficient tool to drive innovation and investments that are needed to meet the intended policy objectives of the Green Deal.



“As the revenues of the EU plastic tax are not earmarked to be invested into the waste and recycling infrastructure, it will not increase the recycling of plastic waste in Europe,” Said EuPC Managing Director Alexandre Dangis. ”Instead, it will further increase the cost of plastic recycling and encourage the shift to other packaging materials with a bigger environmental impact. To truly increase recycling rates across Europe and protect the environment, taxation of the landfilling of plastic packaging waste would be more efficient.”



Improving the recycling of plastics packaging requires considerable investment by the entire plastics value chain in innovation, new machinery, and the ecological design of plastic packaging. With expected revenues of around €6-8 billion per year flowing into the general budget of the EU, this money would not be available anymore to be invested in the transition towards a circular economy.



As a next step, further details on the tax will have to be worked out in a specific law and approved by the European Parliament and Council of the EU. While much of the details remain obscure up to now, it is already clear that the member states will have large freedom in the implementation of the measures to collect the funds to be transferred to the EU. The implementation and complexity of different schemes from country to country will lead to a host of heterogeneous measures destroying the single market.

Mrs. Tsvetanka Todorova, President of BAP attended a wide-format meeting at the Bulgarian National Assembly of which the Minister of Environment and Water Emil Dimitrov presented the MOEW policy in the Waste Management sector.


The meeting was attended by MPs from the Environment and Water Commission, the Ministry of Environment and Water and the Executive Environmental Agency, representatives of the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria, ASECOB, employers and industry organizations. They discussed the MOEW’s current measures to strengthen waste management controls and upcoming legislative initiatives in this direction.


Deputy Minister Krasimir Zhivkov made an interactive presentation of the MoEW’s overall policy in the Waste Management sector with figures and data.  According to the Eco-Ministry, in 2018 each resident made 423 kg of rubbish, below the EU average. Bulgaria is growing in recycling and has reached 36% – against the European target of 55% by 2018 and 70% by 2020.


In the next programming period, up to 10% of the waste must be landfilled, 65% should be recycled and the rest should be recovered, which, according to the Minister, means incineration.


Representatives of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Environmentalists of Municipalities in Bulgaria (ASECOB) and the BSP Parliamentary Group also expressed doubts about the objectivity of the statistics submitted for exceeding the waste management goals.


The Earth Association rejected the minister’s argument that, beyond the mandatory minimum quotas for landfilling and recycling, waste should be sent to incineration. They referred to the 2021-2025 European circular economy policy and recalled the World Bank’s report to the Ministry of Finance, which highlighted Bulgaria’s poor track record in waste management and recommended processes for improving it.


”For Earth” and ASECOB, they also reminded of the need to reformulate the garbage tax in accordance with the “polluter pays” principle so that the tax paid would depend on the actual garbage created, rather than on the nominal area of ​​a dwelling or commercial premises. This would have a positive effect on the motivation of citizens and the actual achievement of the recycling and waste reduction targets.


Slaveya Stoyanova – Director of the Waste Directorate at MOEW presented initiatives already underway to improve processes. Among them, to prepare documentation for alignment with the more ambitious European targets after 2020, as a project for their synchronization in the Bulgarian legislation will be presented for public discussion at the end of next month.


The participants requested a working group to formulate changes to the Waste Management Act, but parliamentary committee chairman Ivelina Vassileva promised them they would have the opportunity to submit opinions – which is also the official procedure for each bill.


Deputy Minister Krasimir Zhivkov committed last year to the BAP to be included in a working group to the MoEW on the transposition of the European directive on the restriction of the use of single-use plastic products, but so far there is no feedback from the MoEW. It is expected that by mid-year the European Commission will issue guidance on the implementation of the Directive in all Member States.



Ban on plastic packaging slows down innovation – Recycling instead of landfill


In an interview in “Die Welt” the new EU Commissioner for Environment, Virginijus Sinkevicius, thinks aloud about a general ban on plastic packaging in Europe. The Associations representing the European polymer industry consider this idea to be counterproductive and calls on the EU Commissioner to do more to ensure that plastic packaging in Europe does not end up in landfills but is recycled.



After the EU already banned various disposable plastic articles and packaging last year, the new Environment Commissioner Sinkevicius considers it appropriate to impose further bans. In his view, it is important to generally ban plastic packaging.



The industryconsiders such statements to be dangerous because they question the future of plastic packaging in a circular economy. “The Commissioner should ask himself how his statement will be received by those who are about to decide on investments in recyclable packaging or recycling plants. If politicians exclude plastic packaging from the circular economy, these urgently needed investments will certainly not be made,” comments the  Managing Director of IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen.Dr. Martin Engelmann.



While a strict landfill ban has been in force in Germany since 2005, household waste may still be landfilled to a large extent throughout the EU until 2030. We see a faster end to landfill as the most important lever for the circular economy.



Moreover, the IK criticises the effect of such prohibitions on consumers. “Some politicians are currently suggesting to consumers and voters that blanket bans can be used to overcome the major challenges in environmental and climate protection. Unfortunately, they  forget to mention the contribution plastic packaging makes, for example, to CO2 savings and food safety,” complains Engelmann. If plastic is replaced by other materials in packaging, this usually results in increased energy consumption and significantly higher CO2 emissions.



The polymer industry associations and the companies they represent expect the new EU Commission to make decisions based on facts and not on trends of the zeitgeist.

Branch Association Polymers is a registered cluster of plastic converting and recycling companies in BG which also includes academic and research organisations in the field of polymers. The cluster is categorized by the Executive Agency for Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises under procedure BG16RFOP002-2.009 “Development of clusters in Bulgaria” as developing.


Our focus is on strengthening cohesion, partnership and cooperation among cluster companies, research and academic institutions. We aim at an in-depth understanding of the whole of the value chain for polymers  production with a view to sustainable development and economic effectiveness and to contribute towards the development of companies and maintaining employment by anticipating changes and the emergence of new technologies.


We work to establish a structure where members can work in together on the creating synergies, implementing new products and technologies, introduce innovative product portfolios on the local and international markets, and develop successful cooperation by implementing common projects.


We aim to:

  • create a communications network in the industry (micro-companies, SMEs, large companies and groups), academic and private research and those involved in training, both initial and ongoing,
  • increase efforts to innovate through a pooled approach,
  • encourage and support the emergence and running of collaborative research and innovative product projects.


Our Mission is:

  • To provide technical and professional support to plastic and polymer branch, by dissemination of quality, technical and specialized information, leading collaboration between companies in sector, in order to promote innovation and improved competitiveness and networking.