Environment and sustainability – May 2024

04 June 2024

Rules and regulations – global and EU
UNEP reports on the fourth meeting (INC-4) to develop a global legally binding agreement on plastic pollution. Ahead of INC-4, LNBL published a report (2.96 MB) showing the significant climate impact of primary plastic production and the University of Portsmouth published a report (7.77 MB) on the role of National Action Plans. EU: On 30 April 2024, the revised Waste Shipment Regulation was published in the OJ. It includes a ban on exports of plastic waste to non-OECD countries. The EP has adopted the proposal on the Eco-design for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) including digital product passports. The EP has rejected a motion for a resolution on modifying the methodology for calculating the recycled content in SUP beverage bottles. FEICA has published a report (416 kB) on laminating adhesives in the recycling process of flexible plastic packaging. JRC has published a study (3.97 MB) on the impacts of the collection and treatment of the dry recyclable fractions of municipal waste in the EU-27.

Rules and regulations in the different countries
Belgium: The EC has extended the standstill period to 11 December 2024 for Walloon draft legislation banning SUP packaging for fruit and vegetables. India: In March 2024, an amendment (1.58 MB, scroll down for English) to the Plastic Waste Management Rules was published. It includes labelling requirements and adapted definitions for Producers, Importers and Brand Owners (PIBOs). PIBOs must register with the centralised EPR Portal. Italy: The government (in Italian) has given final approvement to legislation (in Italian, article 9-bis) postponing the Plastics Tax to July 2026. NL all info is in Dutch unless stated otherwise: The consultation on the NCPN obliging companies to incorporate a minimum share of plastic recyclate and bio-based plastics closes on 31 May 2024. The state secretary has answered questions on deposits and included a letter from ILT informing Verpact of several intended charges under penalty and Verpact's written response as annexes. VNG has announced that it does not want to extend the current Packaging Chain Agreement by five years in 2025. One of the problems is the amount of rejected PMD bags. Verpact commented in a press release. The Outline Agreement for a new government reached by PVV, VVD, NSC and BBB includes a Plastics Tax as of 2028. The government has published Q&A as a third addition to the consideration framework on the scope of the SUP legislation and KIDV has created a self-help roadmap to assess whether a package contains plastic according to this legislation. Sweden: NPA reports that on 1 July 2024, the packaging fees will increase as a consequence of the changes in the legislation on EPR. UK: The government has announced that the DRS has been postponed to October 2027 and has sent the draft legislation to the EC. Draft legislation on EPR, including labelling requirements, was also sent to the EC. According to the government’s Simpler Recycling plans, councils will be allowed to collect plastic, metal, glass, paper and card in one bin in all circumstances. US: The Protecting Communities from Plastics Act has been reintroduced.

Research and reports
Replacing plastics with alternatives is worse for greenhouse gas emissions in most cases, according to research from the University of Sheffield. A study co-authored by CSIRO, found more than half of branded plastic pollution was linked to 56 companies. Another study from CSIRO estimates that up to 11 million tonnes of plastic pollution has sunk to the ocean floor. A University of Basel study shows that microplastic pollution levels in Antarctica are even higher than previously assumed. High levels of plastic pollution can kill the embryos of a wide range of ocean animals, new University of Exeter research shows.

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