Environment and sustainability – February 2023

28 February 2023

Rules and regulations in the Netherlands - info in Dutch unless stated otherwise
The government has published the National Circular Economy Programme 2023-2030 (13.84 MB). An English summary can be found here (643 kB). RIVM (in English) reports that a week earlier the PBL biannual Integral Circular Economy Report (9.38 MB) was published, concluding that the targets are still far out of reach. Both reports were sent to the Dutch House. Draft legislation (in English) on the recycling rate for beverage cartons has been sent to the EC. A recent report by the Zwerfinator shows that the decline of plastic bottles in litter is stagnating. Research (752 kB) by CE Delft (in English) on behalf of NRK shows that CO2 gains can be achieved by using mechanical plastic recyclate.

Rules and regulations outside the Netherlands
EU: The EC is asking for feedback on which products to address first in the Regulation on Ecodesign for Sustainable Products (ESPR). Packaging is not proposed, but materials are. RecyClass has updated the Design for Recycling Guidelines and the Recyclability Evaluation Protocols. A web report by EEA takes a holistic look at how plastic litter is created and ends up in the EU seas. Another report (2.95 MB) by EEA concludes that of the eight common secondary material markets, only aluminium, paper and glass are functioning well. A Eunomia report that you can download after filling in your details reviews the environmental performance of EPR in France, Germany, and Italy. Australia: An update to the National Waste Policy Action Plan raises the household waste recovery target from 70% to 80% by 2030. Belgium: OVAM (in Dutch) is calling on companies to join a digital deposit pilot project (in Dutch) for Flanders. France: The EC has launched an infringement procedure against the Triman Decree. Draft legislation on the identification of and providing information on the presence of hazardous substances in waste-generating products has been sent to the EC. Italy: In an article (815 kB) published in the International Journal of Logistics Management, Sapienza University of Rome researchers analyse business practices to enhance the circularity of packaging. New Zealand: SGS reports that Waste Minimization (plastic and Related Products) Amendment Regulations 2022 have been published. A website detailing the phasing out of hard-to-recycle and SUPs has also been created. Poland: Draft legislation obliging companies to collect a fee for certain SUPs has been sent to the EC. UK: The government has announced that a range of SUPs will be banned from October 2023. In a consultation response, the government details the plans for a DRS covering England, Wales and Northern Ireland from 2025. The Environmental Improvement Plan 2023 (9.52 MB) was recently published.

Other developments
According to the Circularity Gap Report 2023 (summary, 140 kB) by Circle Economy that you can download after filling in your details, the world is only 7.2% circular compared to 9.1% in 2018. According to research by Utrecht University and PBL, a circular bioeconomy can dramatically rein in the plastic sector’s environmental impact. An NREL study examines the performance of the different technologies for plastics recycling. UCR researchers have discovered a method to turn plastic waste into a valuable soil additive. NIOZ research show a bacterium that eats and actually digests plastic. Another NIOZ study shows that sunlight slowly breaks down plastics on the ocean’s surfaces into smaller particles. According to a report (7.51 MB) by the University of Washington, marine plastic pollution should be refocused as an issue of plastics production rather than one of waste management. In the ‘Microplastics Knowledge Agenda’ (in Dutch, 3.37 MB), RIVM calls for additional and more targeted research into the effects of microplastics on the environment.

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