Briefs: biodegradable packaging

The use of biodegradable packaging (such as starch and polylactic acid) in Eastern Europe is taking off: in 2006, 821 tonnes of such packaging were consumed in Eastern Europe, compared with 19 350 tonnes in Western Europe and 16 047 tonnes in North America, but 24.6% growth is expected to boost Eastern Europe's consumption to 2463 tonnes by 2011. With a 41% market share, fresh foods dominate biodegradable packaging use. The benefits of such packaging (compared with conventional plastic packaging) include reduced energy consumption in the production process and reduced CO2 emissions resulting from their use.