Environment and sustainability – February 2021

01 March 2021

Developments in the Netherlands
The government is introducing a DRS for cans in 2023. A letter (in Dutch) and a report (in Dutch, 450 kB) showing that for the second year in a row the volume of cans in litter has not decreased. The government (in Dutch) reports that according to a PBL circular economy report (summary, 1.15 MB), the use of natural resources is hardly declining. The PBL report also states, that energy (recovery) is not taken into consideration in the current circular economy policies. In a letter (in Dutch) to the Dutch House, the State Secretary argues for stronger measures. According to WUR, the current quality of recycled PE and PP bottles is well-suited for various non-food applications, however demand is lagging. NRK (in Dutch) calls on the State Secretary to make the use of recyclate (more) attractive. Recently the National Platform Plastics Recycling (in Dutch) was launched. The Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition has published a report (10.36 MB) on a circular economy for plastics.’

Developments in the rest of the world
Reloop has published a report (5.96 MB) on DRS systems worldwide. EU: The EP has adopted a report on the new EU Circular Economy Action Plan calling for binding 2030 targets. Research (5.05 MB) published by ZWE reveals that the actual beverage carton recycling rate in 4 EU countries is below what is being reported. Belgium: Draft regulations on Flemish waste management have been sent to the EC. Canada: The Canada Plastics Pact has been launched. Colombia: The government has formed a regional Circular Economy Coalition with Costa Rica, Peru and the Dominican Republic. Germany: Draft legislation transposing the SUP directive was sent to the EC. The Federal Cabinet has agreed on amendments to VerpackG (in German, 1.03 MB), including extending the DRS. Ireland: The government has launched a Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy. Kenya: FPF reports that the government has released draft EPR regulations (1.24 MB). South Africa: The government has postponed the implementation of EPR Regulations (261 kB) to 5 May 2021. UK: On 1 January 2021 new EPR regulations came into force. The government has opened a consultation on updating the UK Plan for Shipments of Waste. The government has delayed the Environment Bill. US: The Save Our Seas (SOS) 2.0 Act has been signed into law. NCEL reports that 9 states introducing EPR related bills (148 kB) have announced a coordinated effort to realise EPR for plastic packaging waste. RLC has published a Blueprint for America’s Recycling System (10.82 MB).

Plastic pollution
University of Exeter researchers used open source technology to track the movement of plastic pollution. The University of Surrey has developed a new method to label and track nano-particles. A Princeton University study reveals how plastic pollution travels. Weizmann Institute of Science research has found microplastics in the air above the ocean. San Giovanni Calibita Fatebenefratelli Hospital research (4.09 MB), published in Environment International finds microplastics in human placenta. WUR will be studying the impact of microplastics on the human intestinal tract in the consortium PlasticHeal. A review (1.32 MB) by CSIRO experts published in Conversation Letters finds flexible plastic the most deadly plastic for sea wildlife.

Research and reports
A Closed Loop Partners report that you can download after filling in your details, examines opportunities and challenges for alternative materials for plastic. A report (4.62 MB) published by SusChem studies research contributing to plastic sustainability goals. Neste has completed its first industrial-scale processing run with liquefied waste plastic. CHEM Trust has published a report (1.43 MB) on chemical recycling. A study (2.2 MB) on reusable packaging released by ZWE compares 32 LCAs.

NVC members receive this information with all the relevant links in the monthly NVC Members-only Update. If you have any questions, please contact us: info@nvc.nl, +31-(0)182-512411