Environment and sustainability – November 2021

03 December 2021

Rules and regulations in the EU
EU: FEFCO has published new corrugated packaging recyclability guidelines (1.62 MB). The EC has adopted Decision 2021/1870 with a revised set of EU Ecolabel criteria for cosmetic products and all-new criteria for animal care products. Austria: The government (in German) is introducing a DRS for plastic bottles and beverage cans as of 2025. Bulgaria: § 7. Article 5 of Decree Nº420 (in Bulgarian, 824 KB) makes the marking for material identification and the tidyman symbol mandatory as of 1 January 2022. NL: The State Secretary has informed (in Dutch, 244 kB) the House of new regulations prohibiting the free provision of SUP cups and food containers for on-the-go consumption and prohibiting the use of SUPs for direct consumption. An internet consultation (in Dutch) is open until 6 December 2021. The evening before the Circular Economy debate (in Dutch) on 18 November 2021, he sent (in Dutch) the House a memo (in Dutch, 441 kB) on drinks packaging in litter. In a letter (in Dutch, 354 kB), the State Secretary informs the House about a number of subjects in the field of circular economy. In October, he sent (in Dutch) the update of the Circular Economy Implementation Programme 2021-2023 (in Dutch, 2.43 MB) to the House. He also sent (in Dutch) a study (in Dutch, 1.7 MB) on the financial and organisational implementation of EPR. According to PRN (in Dutch), paper/board with plastic coating on one side may now be disposed of as waste paper. NRK (in Dutch) reports that research (in Dutch with an English summary, 1.41 MB) by CE Delft shows that the climate impact of plastics can be reduced by up to 50% by 2030. Research (in Dutch, 3.43 MB) by Natuur & Milieu (in Dutch) shows that 65% of supermarket packaging is not or limitedly recyclable. The monitoring report (in Dutch, 1 MB) of the Packaging Waste Fund (in Dutch) shows an overall recycling rate of 82% in 2020.

Rules and regulations outside the EU
Asia: A white paper by Smithers that you can download after filling in your details, looks at how Asia is tackling plastic pollution. Australia: APCO has published the Australian Dairy Sustainable Packaging Roadmap to 2025 (3.4 MB). Hong Kong: The government has launched the public interaction phase on the control of SUPs. India: The government has published draft regulations setting a 100% EPR coverage target for specified plastic packaging by 2023. New Zealand: The government has opened a public consultation on a new waste strategy and new waste legislation. UK: The government has tabled a number of amendments to the Environment Bill, including measures that would allow charges on all single-use items, not just SUPs. US: EPA has released the 2021 National Recycling Strategy.

Plastic and the environment
A new study (6.84 MB) published by the European Patent Office (EPO) shows that Europe and the US are leading innovation in plastic recycling and alternative plastics technologies. RMIT University researchers have developed a way to transform used plastic into valuable nanomaterials and high-quality fuel. An article (abstract) is published in the Journal of Environmental Management. According to KTH research (1.6 MB) published in Resources, Conservation and Recycling, there is no mainstream solution for recycling multi-material plastic packaging in the next 5–10 years. NUI Galway research (9.83 MB), published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, uses LCA to assess the environmental impact of replacing petrochemical plastic packaging of fresh fruit and vegetables with PLA. UNEP recently published two reports: Drowning in Plastics (7.83 MB) and From Pollution to Solution (9.69 MB). In a paper (1.74 MB) published in Science of the Total Environment, Bangor University researchers reveal fundamental links between the global climate crisis and plastic pollution. A University of Leicester study published (3.24 MB) in Frontiers in Water, finds that plastic pollution clogs river systems for considerably longer than previously thought.

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