Environment and sustainability - November 2018
Update on EU regulations
On 24 October the EP adopted a report on the EC legislative proposal for reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment. MEPs added oxo-degradable plastics to the list of plastics banned from the EU market from 2021. On 31 October the member states' ambassadors agreed the Council's position on the proposal. Meanwhile ECHA has announced that the restriction report on oxo-degradable plastics has been postponed until 19 July 2019.
On 23 October the EP announced that it has adopted a report on the EC proposal for revision of the EU Drinking Water Directive. The plans aim to increase the use of tap water for drinking, which could contribute to reducing plastic usage and litter. The EC has also put forward a new Bioeconomy Strategy.
Update national regulations
Australia: The 2025 National Packaging Targets were announced during an APCO event. The Government also officially launched the Australasian Recycling Label as an important tool for achieving the targets. Belgium: The Walloon Government has sent a draft decree to the EC concerning gradually prohibiting the distribution of free publications packaged in plastic film. Germany: The Duits-Nederlandse Handelskamer (DNHK) has sent us a press release (in Dutch, 72 kB) about the new German packaging regulations VerpackG and the Stiftung Zentrale Stelle Verpackungsregister (Foundation Central Packaging Register) has published two guidelines in English. NL: As of 1 January 2019, the Packaging Waste Fund (in Dutch) will be applying a differentiated tariff for plastic packaging. For well recyclable plastic packaging a lower tariff will apply. The special lower fee for biodegradable plastics will end and the fee for beverage cartons will be raised. An overview can be found here.
State secretary Van Veldhoven (IenW) has sent the RIVM evaluation (in Dutch) of the ’From Waste To Resource programme’ 2014 – 2016 (VANG) to the House of Representatives. She has also announced that she is stepping up the campaign against plastic soup by tackling waste in rivers and banning disposable plastics. She is also preparing an amendment (in Dutch) to the Packaging Management Decree. It concerns designating standards NEN-EN 13427 to NEN-EN-13432 to comply with the essential requirements in the EU directive.
UK: The Government has set out its plan to ban the distribution and sale of plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds. The plan is subject to a consultation. There will be no ‘latte levy’, however a new plastic packaging tax has been announced.
New developments in recycling
The EC has approved an investment package of €243 million for projects under the LIFE programme. This includes investments in projects that will enable more plastic to be reused.
A new EU research project, polynSPIRE, has been launched aimed at improving the performance of plastics recycling.
The KIDV (in Dutch) has published a report (in Dutch, 2.3 MB) with possibilities and actions to scale up chemical recycling of plastic packaging in the Netherlands.
Microplastics found in the human stool
During the annual Our Ocean Conference the Ellen MacArthur Foundation unveiled that the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment to eliminate plastic waste and pollution at the source has been signed by 290+ organisations.
Researchers discovered microplastics in the human stool in a pilot study conducted by the Medical University of Vienna. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) responded by publishing a Communication (66 kB) ‘Is there a risk to human health from microplastics? More research and scientific data needed’.
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