Environment and sustainability - January 2019
Around the world - legislation and recycling results
Denmark: The government has sent draft regulations to the EC expanding the deposit and return system to include juice packaging. The government has also announced that thin, lightweight plastic bags will be prohibited. EU: The EC has announced that the EP and the Council of the EU have reached a provisional political agreement on the Single-use plastics proposal. According to Eurostat, 42% of plastic packaging waste was recycled in 2016 (24% in 2005). In a report (7.2 MB) ACR+ examines EU deposit-refund systems for one-way beverage packaging. Finland: Compliance scheme Rinki has announced changes to the data declaration form. Germany: In a press release, the government looks at the new Packaging Act (VerpackG). The government has also announced (in German) a plan (in German, 126 kB) for reducing plastic waste. NL: The government has announced (in Dutch) that the waste tax has been raised from €13.21 to €32.12 per 1000 kg for 2019. The RVO has announced the Environment List 2019 (in Dutch) with investments for which you can apply for fiscal advantage (MIA/Vamil). The Packaging Waste Fund has published a report (in Dutch, 882 kB) with the results of recycling in 2017. New Zealand: The government has confirmed that retailers will no longer be able to sell or give away single-use plastic bags from 1 July 2019. Portugal: A decree (in Portuguese) to establish a container deposit scheme has been approved. Initially the deposit will apply only to plastic bottles, but glass and metal will be added from 1 January 2022. UK: Businesses will pay the full cost of recycling or disposing of their packaging waste. The announcement forms part of the government’s new Resources and Waste Strategy. WRAP has published The UK Plastics Pact Roadmap to 2025. US: As of 1 January 2019 single-use foam packaging is banned in New York. More information can be found here. World: The UNEP has published a report (40.11 MB) with an overview of countries’ policy instruments and progress on regulating single-use plastics.
Recycling and using packaging waste
EuPC has published a report on the use of recycled plastics materials that you can download after filling in your details. The NL State Secretary has presented (in Dutch) the National Test Centre for Circular Plastics (NTCP). The NTCP will work on improving the techniques for sorting and recycling plastic packaging. Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have created a way to convert plastic bottle waste into PET aerogels for many useful applications. SABIC is implementing an investment project for the chemical recycling of mixed plastic waste back to the original polymer. Together with a consortium, Omrin (in Dutch) has managed to process used PP into a high quality raw material for recycled plastic.
Guidelines for designing packaging and other new initiatives
Bjorn de Koeijer has obtained his PhD at the University of Twente with research on design tools for innovative and sustainable packaging. A new guide (299 kB) from AMERIPEN provides a detailed comparison of definitions worldwide, including recyclable, reusable etc. Petcore Europe has published Design for Recycling Guidelines (765 kB) for PET trays.
Nearly 30 global companies have launched the Alliance to End Plastic Waste and the EC has launched the Circular Plastics Alliance. The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) has launched the platform EXTR:ACT – Driving Value for mulitmaterial recycling.
Environmental costs of packaging
Study from the University of Bonn shows that more bioplastics do not necessarily contribute to climate change mitigation. An article (1.33 MB) is published in Environmental Research Letters.
Researchers at The University of Manchester studied the environmental impacts of disposable takeaway-food containers. An article is published in the Journal of Cleaner Production.
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