Environment and sustainability - April 2019

25 April 2019

Advancing recycling of packaging waste
A new non-profit organization called Chemical Recycling Europe (ChemRecEurope) has been launched. In April they published their first Position Paper. Meanwhile, Attero has opened a new Polymer Recycling Plant (PRP) that will annually recycle 24,000 tons of post-consumer film packaging into regranulate that is of such high quality that plastic film products can be produced from post-consumer plastic film waste. A grant from the Walmart Foundation to the University of Georgia will help researchers understand how multilayer plastic packaging degrades.

Packaging that is recycling friendly
Growing pressure from consumers and governments are pushing brand owners towards using recycling friendly packaging. In a recent article, Smithers Pira pinpoints 5 trends that are helping to boost the market. To help companies, The Dutch knowledge centre Waste Circular (in Dutch) has published an English version of the Inspiration Guide Circular Design (5.98 MB).

PE, PP and PS are the most abundant microplastics in the Mediterranean coastal waters, according to a University of Barcelona study published in Marine Pollution Bulletin. Meanwhile, scientists at the University of York have mapped out how to protect over a third of the world’s oceans by 2030.
According to a review study performed by WUR, microplastics are widely detected in freshwaters but 92% of the reviewed studies cannot be considered fully reliable. The study (1.24 MB) is published in Water Research. An Earthwatch and Plastic Oceans UK report identifies the top 10 types of consumer plastic that are polluting EU lakes and rivers. You can download the report after filling in your e-mail address. The new global 100 Plastic Rivers Project, led by the University of Birmingham aims to better understand how plastics are transported and transformed in rivers before they reach the oceans.
Recently the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development ZonMw (in Dutch) gave the go-ahead for 15 research projects focussing on the effects of micro- and nanoplastics on human health.

Legislation and recycling results around the world
APCO has launched a report (2.39 MB) mapping the current state of post-consumer packaging. Belgium: Fost Plus has introduced the new blue bag (in Dutch). Until now, only plastic bottles and flasks, metal packaging and beverage cartons were allowed in the PMD bag. All other household plastic packaging is now also included. The new bag is being introduced gradually. EU: On 27 March, Parliament approved a new law banning certain single-use plastic items. The EC stated that they welcome this adoption. A new Eunomia/COWI report (4.16 MB), published by the EC estimates that the cost to the EU of not implementing environmental law in 2018 was around €55 billion. India: Solid plastic waste has been prohibited by the government from import into the country. NL: On April 4, the chairman of Papierenkarton.nl (in Dutch) presented the material sustainability plan for paper and cardboard (in Dutch, 2.94 MB). A week later a general consultation on the circular economy took place in the House of Representatives. The draft minutes (in Dutch, 111 kB) have been published. Slovakia: The government has sent draft regulations to the EC introducing a deposit return scheme for disposable plastic and metal containers for beverages. UK: The government has launched an inquiry into plastic food and drink packaging to find out what progress has been made in developing and using more environmentally friendly alternatives and how they perform.

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