Environment and sustainability – June 2023

04 July 2023

Global and EU developments
UNEP reports on the second meeting to develop a global legally binding agreement on plastic pollution. Ahead of the meeting, UNEP published a report (7.46 MB) outlining solutions to cut global plastic pollution and the University of Portsmouth published a policy brief (2.65 MB) on the effectiveness of national action plans in the context of the treaty. WWF published a report (3.36 MB) identifying the plastic products that are polluting the environment the most and a report (1.84 MB) proposing global control measures for these products.
EU: In May, the Council gave the final go-ahead to a new Regulation on deforestation-free supply chains (EUDR) and on 9 June Regulation (EU) 2023/1115 was published in the OJ. The EUDR replaces the Timber Regulation (EUTR). Standard EN 17665 for tethered caps (part of the SUP directive) has been referenced in the OJ. The EP ENVI Committee has adopted its position (598 kB) on revising the Ecodesign framework for sustainable products (ESPR). The ESPR introduces digital product passports. EEA has published a briefing showing that 18 Member States are at risk of not meeting the 2025 waste targets. The findings led to the finalisation of the early warning report (785 kB) published by the EC.

More rules and regulations
Australia: The government has agreed (168 kB) to develop mandatory packaging design obligations and make industry responsible for the packaging they place on the market. Victoria: The government has announced that the DRS will begin on 1 November 2023. Belgium all info is in Dutch unless mentioned otherwise: OVAM reports that as of 15 June reusable cups and return systems are mandatory at events in Flanders. A report (4.55 MB) by OVAM describes actions that promote the use of plastic recyclate. OVAM has also published a guide (974 kB) for self-assessment of end-of-waste and by-product. Denmark: A draft order on registration and reporting of packaging has been sent to the EC. Germany: UBA reports on new legislation (in German) requiring manufacturers to pay the cost of waste from SUPs as of 2024. NL all info is in Dutch unless mentioned otherwise: The government reports on the SUP rules for cups and trays/dishes that are in force as of 1 July. Q&A have also been published to complement the consideration framework on the scope of the SUP directive. A Decree amending the definition of beverage cartons was recently published, as well as a Regulation setting the recycling rate for beverage cartons. The Platform for Chain Optimisation (142 kB) commissioned a cost and composition survey for PMD among municipalities. State Secretary Heijnen has provided answers to questions on the PPWR and answers to questions on deposits on cans. ACM (in English) has updated its ‘Guidelines regarding sustainability claims’ (English summary, 95 kB). UK: The government has published guidance on the ban of certain SUPs as of 1 October 2023. Scotland: The government reports that the DRS will be delayed until at least October 2025. Ukraine: SGS reports that the WTO has received draft legislation (72 kB) on packaging and packaging waste.

According to scientists from WUR and Politecnico di Milano among others, circularity is not necessarily synonymous with sustainability. They present a circularity scorecard that captures aspects likely to demonstrate a product's environmental sustainability. TNO and Fraunhofer researchers have published a white paper (1.99 MB) entitled “From #plasticfree to future-proof plastics”. CSU researchers have come up with new chemistry that seeds a creative solution to the recycling of mixed plastics. Scientists at Leipzig University have discovered an enzyme that degrades PET in record time and University of Sydney researchers have successfully degraded PP by using fungi.

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