Environment and sustainability – May 2020
News on regulations in Europe
Hungary: The government has sent a draft decree to the EC transposing the SUP directive into national regulations. NL: GS1 (in Dutch) has announced that suppliers in the Food, Health and Beauty industry have an additional 6 months to correctly enter packaging information in GS1 Data Source. Providing packaging information from 7 November 2020 is not mandatory, it concerns agreements with customers. In April, the government announced that a DRS for small plastic bottles will be introduced on 1 July 2021. On 24 April 2020 the regulations (in Dutch) were published in the Official Government Journal (Staatscourant). On 30 April, the State Secretary sent a letter (in Dutch) to the government with answers to questions about the Plastic Pact. Sweden: KPMG reports on a new tax on plastic carrier bags as of 1 May 2020 and the SE EPA published the results of a study (in Swedish with an English summary, 2.89 MB) on a possible tax on plastics. UK: In March 2020, the government opened a consultation on the plastic packaging tax. In April 2020 the government extended the deadline until 20 August 2020. RECOUP updated its Recyclability by Design guidelines to include recyclability of plastic film. You can download the publication after filling in your details.
News on regulations in the rest of the world
China: In January 2020, the government published a paper on measures against plastic pollution. The nova-Institute recently published an English translation (199 kB). Indonesia: WEF reports that NPAP has published an action plan (22.22 MB) to prevent 16 million tonnes of plastic from entering the ocean. Saudi Arabia: The EC reports that the implementation date for the next phase in mandatory requirements that certain articles made from plastic must be oxo-biodegradable has once again been postponed and a new date is unknown. NVC has made an overview of the situation so far. US: FPF reports that Covid-19 is delaying environmental regulations in a number of states.
Pharmaceutical packaging waste and reuse of returned medicine
Troy University has started research into methods for recycling plastic waste from healthcare facilities. The results (1.35 MB) of a pilot project by HPRC indicate that flexible plastic packaging from the this waste stream can become a viable resource.
In an article (1.57 MB) published in Pharmacy, University of Reading researchers discuss reusing dispensed medicines. Validating the quality and safety of returned medicines through the IoT network seems to be the most effective way.
Plastic packaging waste
Researchers at Carbios and the Toulouse Biotechnology Institute have developed an enzyme, which can biologically depolymerize all PET waste to later be used for new bottles. An article (abstract) is published in Nature.
In a review article (474 kB), published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, ECETOC looks at the ingestion of microplastics by aquatic organisms. Researchers report in ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology (abstract) that lobsters can eat and break down microplastics, releasing even smaller fragments that other deep-sea organisms could ingest.
Cardiff University researchers have developed a way of predicting the size of plastics different animals are likely to ingest. An article (1.69 MB) is published in Nature Communications. A pioneering technique using satellite data to detect plastics floating on the sea surface, led by researchers at Plymouth Marine Laboratory, is published (1.93 MB) in Scientific Reports.
WUR reports that researchers have found 26 different plastics and rubbers in Dutch rivers.