Environment and sustainability – March 2023

06 April 2023

Rules and regulations in the EU
During the Environment Council the Dutch state secretary of I&W Vivianne Heijnen expressed support (in Dutch) for the PPWR proposal, but she also believes it needs to be stepped up. The EC has adopted a proposal for a Directive on new rules on substantiating green claims to end greenwashing. You can find Q&A and a consultation here. JRC has published a report (3.4 MB) on the harmonised labelling of packaging and waste receptacles. The EC has published the implementation report 2016-2019 (455 kB) of the Waste Shipment Regulation. An ETC/CE report (1.69 MB) investigates the dynamics of plastic waste trade within the EU and exports from the EU. A JRC report (5.63 MB) gives an environmental and economic assessment of plastic waste recycling. JRC has also published a report (3.76 MB) entitled “Towards a better definition and calculation of recycling”. The EP has published a report (2.54 MB) on actions of cities and regions in the Mediterranean Sea area to fight sea pollution. Belgium: Flemish draft legislation restricting the use of disposable containers at events has been sent to the EC. The Minaraad (in Dutch) has published its advice (in Dutch, 379 kB) on the EPR Interregional Cooperation Agreement. Germany: BMUV (in German) has submitted a draft ordinance (in German) to determine the amount of the levy on SUPs. NL: In a letter (in Dutch) in the Government Gazette, state secretary of I&W Vivianne Heijnen announces that plastic syrup bottles are not subject to the deposit requirement and that the regulations will be adjusted accordingly. She also briefed the House of Representatives by letter (in Dutch) on the status of the 1st Circular Materials Plan (CMP1), the successor of LAP3. SRC (in Dutch) reports that the Code for Sustainability Advertising (in Dutch) came into effect on 1 February 2023.

Rules and regulations outside the EU
: The government has released a report (1.4 MB) on the consultations on plastics recyclability labelling and a federal plastics registry. Colombia: WRAP reports that a Plastics Pact has been launched. Thailand: The government has announced a complete ban on plastic waste imports by 2025. “Closing the loop or widening the gap? The unequal politics of Thailand’s circular economy in addressing marine plastic pollution” is the title of a study (2.27 MB) by Dublin City University researchers published in the Journal of Cleaner Production. UK: Defra reports that the reporting requirements for EPR came into force in March 2023. Correspondence with the UK Government seeking an exclusion for the Scottish DRS from the Internal Market Act shows that the Scottish Government is concerned about the timeline for their DRS. WRAP has published a pathway (832 kB) for retailers to sell 50% of fresh uncut fruit and vegetable loose by the end of 2030. US: The US Plastics Pact has released its Annual Report (4.39 MB) with aggregated data from its member organisations in 2021.

Other developments
A recent Pro Carton report (summary, 1.21 MB) shows that the EU carton packaging industry has reduced its carbon footprint by 24% since 2018. CELAB-Europe has launched an interactive map for liner recyclers. A Eunomia report (20.46 MB) published by Reloop and ZWE shows that mixed waste sorting is key to meeting the EU’s circular economy objectives.
The Plastic Waste Makers Index 2023 (15.96 MB) by Minderoo Foundation shows that SUP production is still on the rise. A study (8.37 MB) by Systemiq explores the circularity of PET/polyester in the EU. An environmental scoring tool for food packaging is presented in an INRAE study (2.33 MB) published in Packaging Technology and Science. A Back to Blue report evaluates the effectiveness of policy mechanisms to reduce plastic use. AWI research shows that one third of the plastic debris in the Arctic comes from Europe. Northwestern University researchers see possibilities for bacteria-based platforms that recycle plastic and plant waste.

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