Environment and sustainability - August 2019

05 September 2019

Dealing with packaging waste
The Sustainable Packaging Coalition has published a report (8.64 MB) on materials in US material recovery facilities. VTT’s WasteBusters' project has demonstrated that chemical recycling offers an ecologically sound alternative to incineration and possibly to mechanical recycling as well. Packaging Europe informs us that an Executive Summary (82.4 MB) of the HolyGrail project has been published with more information on the aim to improve post-consumer recycling using chemical tracers and digital watermarks. RECOUP (66 kB) has been leading a forum to improve the recycling of black plastic packaging. You can download a report with the progress after filling in your details. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has launched its New Plastics Economy: Reuse book (8.84 MB). PAC Packaging Consortium has released their Smart Packaging Sustainability Checklist (1.67 MB). Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE) has released a guidance (1.02 MB) on quality sorting of plastic packaging. PRE has also published a paper (1.68 MB) identifying the prerequisites for increasing recycling of flexible polyethylene into a high-quality raw material. Washington State University scientists have found a way to turn plastic waste products into jet fuel. An article is published in Applied Energy (abstract).

Packaging regulations around the world
An ISO technical committee for the circular economy, ISO/TC 323, has recently been formed. A Paper from Smithers Pira examines circular packaging and how far the industry is from being fully circular. The paper will be sent to you after you have filled in your details. China: The government has announced that it will be promoting nationwide household garbage sorting. NL: The report (in Dutch) of a written consultation on the draft decree on small plastic beverage bottles has been published. In a letter (in Dutch) to the House of Representatives, the State Secretary states that the decree (in Dutch, 167 kB) has been amended. The 90% recycling standard now applies to all plastic bottles up to 3 litres and large bottles will also be included in the deposit system, with the exception of bottles for juices and dairy products. The government has announced (in Dutch) that it has made an extra €80 million available for the circular economy in 2019 and 2020. According to the CBS (in Dutch), the amount of household waste hardly decreased in 2018, but it was separated better. Spain: A 25% increase in Green Dot fees in 2020 has been approved by Ecoembes (in Spanish).

Effects of plastic packaging pollution
10% of the oxygen we breathe comes from just one kind of bacteria in the ocean. In an article (862 kB) published in Communications Biology, Macquarie University researchers show that these bacteria are susceptible to plastic pollution. A new Monterey Bay Aquarium study shows that microplastic particles are not only common from the surface to the seafloor, but they’re also being eaten by animals and incorporated into marine food webs. An article (5.54 MB) is published in Scientific Reports. In an article published in Environmental Science & Technology (abstract), researchers at the University of Victoria suggest humans are consuming tens of thousands of plastic particles per year. A University of Newcastle study finds on average people could be ingesting approximately 5 grams of plastic every week, which is the equivalent weight of a credit card. More information can be found here. A recent report (5.94 MB) published by Fauna & Flora International (FFI) quantifies the impact of plastic pollution on human health. University of Tasmania researchers have revealed that the beaches of Cocos (Keeling) Islands are littered with an estimated 414 million pieces of plastic debris. An article (2.37 MB) is published in Scientific Reports. University of Exeter scientists have found that hundreds of sharks and rays have become tangled in plastic waste. An article (980 kB) is published in ESR. A recent report (4.4 MB) published by WWF shows that in all Mediterranean countries plastic marine pollution is the result of failures across the entire plastic life cycle.

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