Environment and sustainability – January 2024

31 January 2024

Rules and regulations in the EU
In December, the Council adopted their negotiating position (1.52 MB) on the PPWR during a public session. The EC has published legislation (2023/2683) on calculating recycled plastic content in SUP beverage bottles. The EP has voted in favour of the provisional agreement reached with the Council on the green claims directive. The Council and the EP have reached a provisional agreement on revising the ecodesign framework for sustainable products (ESPR). The EC reports that the EU observatory on deforestation and forest degradation is now up and running. It will support the EUDR on deforestation-free products. Belgium: Draft legislation banning SUP packaging for fruit and veg has been sent to the EC. Denmark: Draft legislation on registering and reporting packaging has been sent to the EC. Finland: Draft legislation on the end-of-waste status of mechanically recycled plastic has been sent to the EC. Germany: The government (in German) has announced that the plastic tax (in German) has been postponed until 1 January 2025. NL all info is in Dutch unless mentioned otherwise: The government reports that the new SUP rules remain in force, despite the adopted motions. The state secretary reports by letter that the enforcement will temporarily be adapted. The Waste Fund (StAV) has responded to ILT’s intention to impose penalty payments for not meeting the plastic bottle collection target. In the final improvement plan (2.41 MB), StAV states that it will take until the end of 2026 to implement all measures. RVO (in English) has published the Environment List 2024 with investments for which you can apply for fiscal advantage (MIA/Vamil). Inspections of plastic waste by the Inspectorate ILT show that high-quality raw materials are disappearing from the EU. A KPMG report (in English, 5.57 MB), commissioned by VNO-NCW, maps the route to green plastic. Poland: Draft legislation on packaging fee rates and on fee rates to pay the costs of handling SUP waste has been sent to the EC.

Rules and regulations outside the EU
Australia: The government has announced rules on how packaging is designed, minimum recycled content requirements and a ban on harmful chemicals being used. Research (975 kB) by the Australia Institute shows that a tax on plastic packaging could raise AUS $1.457 billion annually. Canada: The government is seeking feedback on developing a federal plastics registry. China: The government has announced a plan to reduce the environmental impact of e-commerce packaging. UK: The government has announced an increase in the rate of the Plastic Packaging Tax from 1 April 2024. US: The Farewell to Foam Act (36 kB) banning certain EPS products has been introduced in the Senate. A new publication (363 kB) by EHHI calls for all states to adopt DRS. According to DOE, recycling plastic by pyrolysis can significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions. California: CalRecycle has released building blocks for Act SB 54 on SUPs and EPR, and a report (4.55 MB) on the implementation progress.

Research on plastic waste
A study (17.44 MB) by the Alliance to End Plastic Waste highlights policies to increase plastic recycling rates globally. A report (7.67 MB) by Oceana shows that an increase of 10% in reusable packaging by 2030 could eliminate 1 trillion SUP bottles and cups. University of Adelaide experts have developed a way of converting PE waste into valuable chemicals, via light-driven photocatalysis. NTU scientists have found plastic-eating bacteria and harmful microbes on marine plastic waste. Research led by UMass Amherst shows that zooplankton are able to chew apart microplastics, breaking them down into nanoplastics. University of Portsmouth researchers have found the ability of marine ‘shrimp like’ creatures to reproduce successfully to be compromised by chemicals found in plastics. Inspired by a small snail, Cornell University scientists have developed a robot prototype that may one day scoop up microplastics from water surfaces.

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