Environment and sustainability - March 2019

28 March 2019

The Circular Economy: results and initiatives
The European Commission has released a report (602 kB) on the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan adopted in December 2015 and a memo with questions and answers. The EC also published a staff working document (511 kB) assessing voluntary pledges under the EU strategy for plastics in a circular economy and a report (4.12 MB) providing research and innovation insights. A Keller and Heckman article (8.97 MB) gives an overview of developments in EU regulations for plastic packaging in a circular economy.
The French government (in French) has signed a national pact (in French, 1.35 MB) on plastic packaging. The NL government has announced that the global Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy PACE is relocating to the Netherlands. The Sustainable Packaging Coalition SPC has released its Design For Recycled Content Guide.

Plastic packaging on agenda of 4th UN Environment Assembly
During the UN Environment Assembly (11-15 March) the UN released the 6th Global Environmental Outlook. The report states that we should drastically scale up environmental protections. Ways to address plastic packaging waste were discussed. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative published the Spring 2019 report (3.55 MB) in which details of how brands, governments, and other organisations are tackling plastic pollution have been set out side-by-side. Ahead of the meeting, WWF published the study Solving Plastic Pollution Through Accountability (1.27 MB).

Challenging plastic waste
NREL scientists have developed a recycling process that transforms PET products like single-use beverage bottles into more valuable products with a longer lifespan. VTT has developed a cylindrical extruder that can be used, for example, to turn problematic plastics as well as food waste into pellets.
The EC has launched the 2019 edition of the European Social Innovation Competition EUSIC. This year’s topic is 'Challenging Plastic Waste'.
Meanwhile Newcastle University scientists have found microplastic ingestion by organisms in the world’s deepest ocean trenches. An article (1.08 MB) about the research is published in Royal Society Open Science. Researchers at the University of Tasmania have found that balloons are the highest-risk plastic debris item for seabirds. An article (1.18 MB) about the research is published in Scientific Reports. A new report (14.58 MB) from CIEL brings together research that exposes the distinct toxic risks plastic poses to human health at every stage of the plastic lifecycle.

Packaging recycling statistics
Eurostat (352 kB) has presented the EU recycling results for 2016.The rate of packaging waste exceeded 67% (64% in 2010) while the rate of plastic packaging was over 42% (24% in 2005). Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that less Dutch recyclable plastic waste was sent to China in 2018.

NL deposit scheme for small plastic bottles
The Dutch State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management has sent the draft decree (in Dutch) for the introduction of a deposit scheme for small plastic bottles to the House of Representatives. The draft decree was published (in Dutch) in the Dutch Government Gazette (Staatscourant) of 4 March. A news item (in Dutch) states that a decision on the introduction will be taken in the autumn of 2020. She also sent a CE Delft study (in Dutch, 930 kB) in which the practical advantages and disadvantages of 2 deposit variants are mapped out.

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.