Environment and sustainability - October 2018

31 October 2018

Plastic packaging – Recyclability and terminology
Two new tools were recently released to help you check whether packaging is recyclable. The KIDV published a recycle check for rigid plastic packaging (in Dutch). The recycle check will be sent to you after you have filled in your details. RecyClass released a procedure (290 kB) to assess whether an innovation is compatible with the EU recycling stream for PE film.
The terminology used to describe the different kinds of plastic can be quite confusing. For this reason, the UK's WRAP has published a factsheet (4.4 MB). To add to the confusion, there are differences between the EU and the US in the definition of biobased content. Experts from NEN and Wageningen Food & Biobased Research have written a White Paper for Bio-Based World News looking at the differences. You can download the paper after filling in your details.

Update on regulations
: Steps are being taken to finalise the new Circular Economy Package. Incentives to collect marine litter at sea, EU-wide standards and definitions for biodegradability and compostability, and a complete EU ban on oxo-degradable plastic by 2020 are among the proposals set out in a non-binding draft resolution, adopted on 13 September by the Parliament. On 11 October the Parliament announced that the ENVI Committee backs a EU ban on polluting throwaway plastics by 2021.
A new EEA report (12.87 MB) explores possible synergies, tensions, gaps and trade-offs between the EU bio- and circular economies' objectives and actions.
At a national level, we have selected a number of developments:
Germany: According to the packaging law that will enter into force on January 1, 2019, companies placing packaged goods on the market must register their products with the central packaging register. The packaging register LUCID (choose English) is now online. Romania: PwC has published an article on Emergency Ordinance no. 74/2018 regarding packaging and packaging waste management. UK: The government has announced plans to extend the single-use plastic bag charge to all retailers and increase the minimum charge to at least 10p. Saudi Arabia: The mandatory requirements that certain articles made from plastic must be oxo-biodegradable have been postponed once again. NVC has published an update.

Dealing with plastic packaging waste
Plastic packaging waste is a hot topic at the moment. Scientists around the world are working on ways to deal with it. We have selected some of the recent developments.
Discarded plastic could be used to fuel cars in the future according to scientists at Swansea University. Within the project PlastBug, VTT is developing a mobile container where microbes degrade plastic waste from the ocean to valuable products like fuels or chemicals.
Ioniqa, a spin-off from the Eindhoven University of Technology, has announced the launch of a new PET factory in the Netherlands. As of summer 2019, PET plastic waste will be converted into PET raw material, of which new food packaging will be made.
A recent study (in Dutch, 2.84 MB), performed by Partners for Innovation (in Dutch) shows that there are more applications for recycled plastic packaging waste than currently utilised.

At a global level two new partnerships to tackle plastic waste have been announced. UN Environment and the European Commission have launched the Global Plastics Platform and the World Economic Forum has launched the Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP).
The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) has announced that the recycling of beverage cartons is growing in the EU and reached 48% in 2017.

NVC members receive this information with all the relevant links in the monthly NVC Members-only Update. If you have any questions, please contact us: info@nvc.nl, +31-(0)182-512411.