Environment and sustainability – September 2023
Rules and regulations – global and EU
WWF reports that the ‘zero draft’ (608 kB) of the UN plastic pollution treaty has been published. EU: The plenary vote on the PPWR has been postponed to 20 November 2023 (indicative). CEFLEX has updated the ‘Designing for a Circular Economy’ guidelines for flexible packaging. You can download the guidelines after filling in your details. The Alliance to End Plastic Waste has published a Eunomia report (1.15 MB) calling for urgent industry action to define quality specifications for mechanical plastic recyclates. A recent EP report (2.07 MB) provides information on the current barriers and options for implementing an EU climate label for products.
Rules and regulations in the different countries
Belgium: A draft decree amending the Vlarema (in Dutch) in Flanders has been sent to the EC. Croatia: A draft proposal of the Regulation on packaging and packaging waste and SUPs has been sent to the EC. Germany: ZSVR has published the 2023 edition of the minimum standard for determining the recyclability of packaging. Netherlands all info is in Dutch unless mentioned otherwise: During the NOS Radio 1 News on 8 September, the state secretary expressed her displeasure that only 68% of plastic bottles have been collected (target is 90%). ILT warns the Waste Fund that this means they are in violation. They must now produce an improvement plan. The government is working on a national circular plastics standard for a minimum share of recyclate and bio-based plastics. A report (851 kB) by CE Delft examines the climate and economic impacts of such a standard. Another report (337 kB) by CE Delft examines the extent to which subsidies for recyclate and bio-based plastics can dampen production losses due to plastics taxes. Both reports have been sent to the Dutch House. Portugal: Order no. 331-E/2021 (in Portuguese) regulates the contribution on single-use packaging containing plastic or aluminium for ready-to-eat-meals. Recently an amendment (in Portuguese) was published postponing the application date for packaging containing aluminium to 1 January 2024. The contribution for SUPs applies from 1 July 2022. FAQ can be found here (in Portuguese, 390 kB). Sweden: In the budget, the government (in Swedish) is proposing to abolish the tax on plastic carrier bags as of 1 November 2024 as it is not deemed necessary for reaching the EU target. Switzerland: Swiss Recycling (in French) reports that players from across the value chain have signed a Letter of Intent (in French) to develop a national collection and recycling system for plastic packaging and drinks cartons.
Plastic and the environment - research
Research from the University of Gothenburg shows that paper cups that end up in nature are just as toxic as plastic cups. Research at Utrecht University shows that significantly less plastic is estimated to be present in the global ocean than scientists previously thought. Also, a relatively large proportion of the plastic in the ocean consists of large pieces that are easier to clean up. The Ocean Cleanup has deployed System 03 to collect plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. System 03 is nearly three times larger than the previous technology. The University of Kansas reports on a global study revealing that concentrations of plastic found in freshwater environments are actually higher than those found in so-called “garbage patches” in the ocean. WUR research shows that over one hundred times the normal volume of plastic waste was carried through the river Maas during the 2021 flood. A study (7.59 MB) by Systemiq presents a comprehensive roadmap for achieving a high–circularity, low–emissions system for PET packaging in the EU. Chemists at CU Boulder have developed a new way to recycle PET. The researchers mixed bits of PET with a special kind of molecule then applied a small electric voltage. Within minutes, the PET began to disintegrate.