Environment and sustainability – March 2022

05 April 2022

Global developments
During the 5th UNEA meeting 175 nations agreed on a resolution (142 kB) to create an international, legally binding agreement by 2024 to end plastic pollution. McKinsey has published an article reviewing packaging regulations in 30 countries across the globe. The world is producing twice as much plastic waste as two decades ago and only 9% is successfully recycled, according to a new OECD report. TSC has announced a new coalition to tackle the recycling of small format packaging. TU/e researchers have developed a new tiny sensor that can analyse the chemical content of plastics. WWF has published Chemical Recycling Implementation Principles (266 kB) and TUBAF research (1.06 MB) published in Circular Economy and Sustainability looks at chemical recycling of plastic waste.

Rules and regulations in the EU
The EC has launched a consultation on reducing microplastics in the environment. Five food companies have started the Flexible Packaging Initiative to accelerate the transition toward a circular economy. The Circular Plastics Alliance (CPA) has published a report (1.68 MB) on increasing the use of recycled plastics. The EC has replied with a draft request to CEN and CENELEC for standards on recycled plastics. FPF reports on a University College Cork article (257 kB) in Frontiers in Marine Science discussing loopholes in the SUP-directive around restrictions for EPS and not for XPS. Belgium: OVAM (in Dutch, 389 kB) reports the signing of a Green Deal (in Dutch) to reduce disposable packaging. Finland: The government has signed a voluntary Green Deal to reduce the consumption of certain SUPs. France: Draft regulations forbidding certain SUPs made from extruded and expanded plastic have been sent to the EC. A recent resolution (in French) calls for a tax on plastic packaging with less than 25% recycled content. Italy: CONAI has announced (in Italian) that the labelling rules have been postponed (in Italian, articolo 11) again to 31 December 2022. NL: Regulations (in Dutch) prohibiting the use of SUPs for direct consumption as of 01-01-2024 and the free provision of SUPs for on-the-go consumption as of 01-07-2023 have been published in the OJ. The State Secretary has informed (in Dutch) the House about this. CBL (in Dutch) has announced that supermarkets will collect beverage cans themselves as of 1 January 2023. According to a report (in Dutch, 422 kB) by CE Delft (in Dutch), adding the cans to the existing system is the most convenient option for the consumer. An Eunomia report (1.68 MB) commissioned by Recycling Netwerk Benelux (in Dutch) is also critical of the success rate of collection via circular hubs. Meanwhile, Statiegeld Nederland reports that after half a year of deposits on small plastic bottles, already 80% of all bottles are returned (in Dutch) and that 100% PET bottles with juice can now voluntarily participate in the system (in Dutch). A 2-minute debate (in Dutch) circular economy was held in the House on 3 February 2022. The new Implementation Programme (in Dutch, 2.41 MB) for VANG (in Dutch) Household Waste has been published. Spain: The government (in Spanish) has approved the Circular Economy Strategic Plan (in Spanish).

Rules and regulations outside the EU
The Latin American and the Caribbean Circular Economy Coalition has launched its vision (27.96 MB) for a circular economy in the region. Chile: The government (in Spanish) informs that new SUP regulations (in Spanish) came into force in February. India: FPF reports that the government has published guidelines (1.68 MB) for an expanded EPR program for plastic packaging. New Zealand: The government has launched a consultation on three proposals to transform recycling, including a DRS. Switzerland: Swiss Recycling reports (in German) that more than 50 organisations have signed a pact (in German) to develop a national plastic and beverage carton collection system. UK: LARAC reports that the introduction of EPR in 2023 has been delayed with no new timeline so far.

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