Environment and sustainability – February 2022

28 February 2022

Rules and regulations in the EU
The EC has published Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/162 for reporting the reduction in the consumption of certain SUPs. An EU legislative proposal to reduce the use of false green claims is expected in March 2022. The EC has launched a public consultation on the forthcoming policy framework for bioplastics. In January 2022, the EC opened a call for evidence on the revision of the Waste Framework Directive. In a joint letter, 5 member states publicly support the EC to work on an ambitious revision of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive. The Council of the EU has endorsed the 8th Environmental Action Program. Austria: Draft legislation transposing the waste directive has been sent to the EC. France: A recent decree (in French) specifies a minimum of 25% recycled plastic in 2025 for PET bottles and 30% for all plastic bottles from 2030. A recent law proposal (in French) includes a ban on polystyrene foam packaging as of 1 January 2025 and mandatory marking of SUPs. NL: ILT (in Dutch) has ruled that plastic bottles with juice to which water and sugar has been added are considered soft drinks and therefore fall under the DRS. A Quick Scan (in Dutch, 1.13 MB) on optimising chain cooperation EPR by Partners for Innovation (in Dutch) has been sent to the Dutch House. The Progress Report Circular Economy 2022 (in Dutch, 724 kB) by PBL (in Dutch) and a report (in Dutch, 5.28 MB) by The Acceleration House (in Dutch) have also been sent (in Dutch) to the Dutch House. Commissioned by the Ministry, Futureconsult conducted research (in Dutch, 586 kB) on the circular consumer in 2050. Slovakia: Draft legislation on a DRS for disposable beverage containers has been sent to the EC.

Rules and regulations outside the EU
Ghana: Ghana NPAP has published a roadmap (20.21 MB) for the reduction of plastic pollution. Singapore: In January 2022, NEA opened a public consultation on the disposable carrier bag charge at supermarkets. South Korea: The government has announced a ban on certain SUPs in restaurants and cafes as of 1 April 2022. From 24 November disposable paper cups will also be banned. US: The U.S. Plastics Pact has released its Problematic and Unnecessary Materials List identifying 11 non-recyclable items.

Plastic and the environment
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has announced that more than 70 businesses have called for a legally binding UN treaty on plastic pollution in a pre-UNEA statement. Stockholm Environment Institute researchers conclude that humanity has exceeded a planetary boundary related to environmental pollutants, including plastics. University of Pittsburgh research gives an overview of the scale of plastic creation globally, tracing where it’s produced, where it ends up and its environmental impact. ETH researchers reveal that the impact of plastics on climate and health is bigger than originally thought due to the increased use of coal in production. CNRS researchers have found microplastic predominantly coming from packaging in the Pyrenees mountain air. University of Giessen research has found that corals remove microplastics from the ocean water and absorb them into their skeleton. Chalmers research has found that the number of microbial enzymes with the ability to degrade plastic is growing, in correlation with local levels of plastic pollution. SERC research finds that plastic pollution is creating new communities of life in the ocean.

Other information
According to the fifth Circularity Gap Report 2022 (4.27 MB) by Circle Economy, the world is only 8.6% circular. In 2018, circularity was 9.1%. A LUT LCA study (2.1 MB) published in Waste Management finds that chemical recycling of liquid packaging board has the lowest environmental impact compared to incineration and mechanical recycling.

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