Environment and sustainability – April 2023

01 May 2023

Rules and regulations in the Netherlands - info in Dutch unless stated otherwise
The government has launched a website with all information on the regulations for SUP cups and trays. At the beginning of April, the State Secretary sent the House a letter on the circular economy. She also sent the 2021 monitoring report (8.57 MB) of Plastic Pact NL, along with a CE Delft report (in English, 833 kB) on biobased plastics. On 20 April, the Commission Debate Circular Economy took place in the Dutch House. Beforehand, MPs received a report (5.09 MB) in which Tinga and Groot argue for rewarding packaging with a lower 'litter risk'. Besides the above topics, the NPCE National Circular Economy Programme (13.84 MB) was discussed. According to an advice (203 kB) from SER and a reflection (134 kB) from PBL, more measures are needed than are currently in the NPCE. The state secretary had previously responded in writing to questions on the NPCE.

Rules and regulations outside the Netherlands
On 17 April, the EP held a Plenary Debate on the proposed Regulation on deforestation-free supply chains (EUDR) replacing the Timber Regulation (EUTR). The law was then adopted by vote. The PPWR proposal is now available in different languages. Proposed amendments (477 kB) by the EP to the PPWR and a progress report (296 kB) were recently published. An amendment to standard EN 17665 to demonstrate that plastic caps and lids remain attached to beverage containers (part of the SUP directive) has been published. Plastics Europe reports that a group of associations has issued a joint letter (370 kB) calling on the EC to adopt EU calculating rules for recycled content, by means of mass balance. Austria: Draft legislation on waste management, the DRS and amending the packaging ordinance has been sent to the EC. Bulgaria: New packaging regulations (in Bulgarian) have been published. One of the changes is that the Tidyman symbol is no longer mandatory. France: Draft legislation on informing the public about endocrine disrupting properties of products and a list of applications enabling this has been sent to the EC. Hungary: Draft legislation on a mandatory DRS has been sent to the EC. Spain: AIFEC (in Spanish) has received confirmation that pressure sensitive labels are exempted from the plastic tax. Singapore: The government has announced details of the upcoming DRS. US: The White House has announced new goals (2.56 MB) to strengthen the bioeconomy, including replacing 90% of plastics with biomaterials in 20 years.

Other developments
A study by researchers at ETH Zurich and others shows that circular plastics are feasible within planetary boundaries.
According to a report (511 kB) by PRE, EU plastic recycling capacity has grown by 17% in 2021. A report (3.99 MB) by EIB finds that an estimated investment gap of €6.7-8.6 billion must be closed to achieve Europe’s plastics recycling targets.
Research by The 5 Gyres Institute (182 kB) shows that there are more than 170 trillion plastic particles afloat in the world’s oceans. IPEN reports on new research (7.96 MB) suggesting that twice as much plastic waste is exported to non-OECD countries than currently estimated.
PVA can now be degraded under mild conditions with the help of biocatalysts developed by University of Greifswald researchers. Ames researchers have developed a new catalyst that makes SUPs easier to upcycle, recycle, and biodegrade. On 14 April 2023, Margot Meijerink held a speech entitled ‘Improving packaging recyclability from a waste treatment perspective - An interactive tool on design for recycling‘ as part of her master assignment at the University of Twente. Chairman of the assessment committee was prof. Roland ten Klooster who holds the NVC Chair Packaging Design and Management.

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