Environment and sustainability – March 2020

30 March 2020

Rules and regulations in the EU
EU: On 11 March 2020 the EC adopted a new Circular Economy Action Plan - one of the main blocks of the EU Green Deal. A few days earlier the EU Plastics Pact was launched in Brussel. The NL government (in Dutch) was one of the initiators. The EC (42 kB) is preparing guidelines for the SUP directive, including examples of what is to be considered a SUP product. CEPI has published recyclability guidelines (8.55 MB) for paper-based packaging. The recycling association EuRIC (199 kB) has published a position paper (4.18 MB) highlighting the main issues derived from the lack of interface between chemicals, product and waste legislation. Belgium: The ban on plastic bags for fruit and vegetables sold loose in Wallonia and Brussel came into force on 1 March 2020. According to Fevia (in Dutch), between 2004 and 2018 the volume of food products increased by 31%, but the volume of its packaging decreased by 56,000 tonnes annually. France: A document in English (1.85 MB) about the anti-waste law has been published. Germany: A draft act implementing the EU Waste Framework Directive has been sent to the EC. NL: The KIDV Recycle Check for Flexible Plastic Packaging is now also available in English. The Waste Management Association has commented (in Dutch) on the WUR research (17.27 MB) showing that compostable plastics disintegrate fast enough in the current NL biowaste disposal system. An evaluation report (in Dutch, 747 kB) sent (in Dutch) to the House of Representatives finds 80% less plastic carrier bags compared to 2015, when the ban was not yet in force. RIVM has announced the first results (in Dutch with English summary, 1.52 MB) of the NL Plastic Pact. UK: The government has announced that it is moving ahead with the implementation of a tax on plastic packaging not containing at least 30% recycled content. In a new report (6.18 MB) Green Alliance explains why the plastic-only approach is not working.

Rules and regulations outside the EU
Canada: A bill introduced in parliament would ban the export of 31 types of plastic waste. Singapore: The National Environment Agency has announced the implementation of a DRS for beverage containers by 2022. US: A revision to ASTM standard D7611 for the resin dentification code (RIC) brings greater specificity to resin code “1.” A new review (2.27 MB) of the domestic recycling system by Greenpeace reveals much plastic packaging is not recycled. Earth Island has filed a lawsuit against a number of major food companies for their contribution to plastic pollution.

The University of Bath reports a new way of chemical recycling published in ChemSusChem (abstract). The molecules can be used to make new plastics of the same quality as the original. Cefic recently published a position paper (320 kB) on chemical recycling.
The new “flash graphene” method, introduced by Rice University and published in Nature (abstract) can turn bulk quantities of plastic waste and other carbon sources into valuable graphene flakes. WWF has published a report (2.3 MB) on plastic packaging in Southeast Asia and China. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has published the presentations of a workshop on the environmental effects of microplastics.

Circular economy
According to the Circularity Gap Report 2020 (8.55 MB) by Circle Economy, the world is now only 8.6% circular, a decrease from the 9.1% circularity in 2018.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has launched Circulytics, a digital tool which gives companies a picture of their circularity across all operations.

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.