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Italian Senate Approves Plastic Bag Sanctions

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Feb. 12, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cereplast, Inc. (OTCQB:CERP), a leading manufacturer of proprietary biobased, compostable and sustainable bioplastics, is pleased to announce that the Italian Senate approved the legislation that mandates the discontinuation of traditional single-use plastic bags in favor of bioplastic bags or other alternatives, and penalizes those who continue to use traditional plastic bags. Senator Francesco Ferrante announced the approval of the Application Decree last week stating, "Finally, we will make Italy the first plastic-free European country for the single-use plastic bag sector." The Decree has been signed by the Ministers and is currently undergoing the proper administrative process toward formal publication. The sanctions will then become effective and applicable 60 days from publication.

Merchants must make the switch to biodegradable and compostable bags and stop using traditional single-use plastic bags within 60 days from the date of publication, or sanctions for non-compliance will be enforced. The fines for non-compliance range between €2,500 and €25,000, and may be increased up to four times the maximum violation if it applies to large quantities of bags, or if the value of the goods exceeds 20% of the total use of the offender.

Italian Minister of the Environment Corrado Clini stated, "The opinion expressed by the Senate is an important step to actually make our country plastic-free. We will constantly monitor compliance to ensure that this objective can be achieved quickly and effectively."

The Application Decree specifies the following:

  • Disposable bags used for the removal of goods must be compostable in accordance with the European standard for compostability: EN 13432:2002
  • Reusable bags with an external handle that are composed of polymers that do not meet EN 13432:2002 with a thickness exceeding 200 microns must contain a minimum 30% recycled plastic if intended for food use; the thickness must exceed 100 microns and contain a minimum 10% recycled plastic if not intended for food use.
  • Reusable bags without an external handle that are composed of polymers that do not meet EN 13432:2002 with a thickness greater than 100 microns must contain 30% recycled plastic if intended for food use; the thickness must exceed 60 microns and contain a minimum 10% of recycled plastic if not intended for food use.
  • Reusable bags for the removal of goods made from paper, fabrics made from natural fibers, polyamide fibers and materials other than polymers are permitted
  • The law does not permit the use of oxo-biodegradable additives

In the wake of this news, Arnaud Montebourg, the French Minister of Industrial Renewal, stated, "Like Italy, France favors the use of biodegradable plastic bags for all single-use bags. An important first step by the end of the year will be to encourage the use of biodegradable shopping bags."

Mr. Frederic Scheer, Cereplast Chairman and CEO, commented, "The Senate approval of the Application Decree is a significant milestone for the bioplastics industry, which consequently presents Cereplast with significant revenue opportunities in the Italian marketplace. We will continue to serve the Italian market with our proprietary, compostable blown film resins while preparing for the anticipated increase in demand once the sanctions are fully implemented. We are happy to see that other countries such as France plan to take Italy's lead with the adoption of bioplastic alternatives."

The European Union considered extending the Italian legislation to all of Europe, but delayed these efforts for a year or two due to the recession. The European market volume for flexible packaging is approximately €20 billion. Italy represents 25% of this market volume at approximately 900,000 tons per year, with several hundred million euro potential revenue for the bioplastics industry in 2013.

Cereplast has benefited from the impact of this pending legislation as Italian companies prepare for the coming sanctions. Cereplast recently reported revenue totaling $800,000, largely as a result of these positive developments, and sales data points toward similar sales volumes from the region as experienced in 2011. See the following releases for more information:

Cereplast Announces $500,000 in New Revenue and Provides 2013 Outlook

Cereplast Provides Shareholder Update on Italian Application Decree & Announces $300,000 in New Revenue

About Cereplast, Inc.

Cereplast, Inc. (OTCQB:CERP) designs and manufactures proprietary biobased, sustainable bioplastics which are used as substitutes for traditional plastics in all major converting processes - such as injection molding, thermoforming, blow molding and extrusions - at a pricing structure that is competitive with traditional plastics. On the cutting-edge of biobased plastic material development, Cereplast now offers resins to meet a variety of customer demands. Cereplast Compostables® resins are ideally suited for single-use applications where high biobased content and compostability are advantageous, especially in the food service industry. Cereplast Sustainables® resins combine high biobased content with the durability and endurance of traditional plastic, making them ideal for applications in industries such as automotive, consumer electronics and packaging. Learn more at www.cereplast.com. You may also visit the Cereplast social networking pages at Facebook.com/Cereplast, Twitter.com/Cereplast and Youtube.com/Cereplastinc.

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CONTACT: Cereplast, Inc. Public Relations Nicole Robertson (310) 615-1900 x154 nrobertson@cereplast.com Investor Relations: Alliance Advisors, LLC Alan Sheinwald 914-669-0222 asheinwald@allianceadvisors.net Valter Pinto 914-669-0222 x201 valter@allianceadvisors.net www.AllianceAdvisors.net

Source:Cereplast, Inc.