PLASTICS AND ENVIRONMENT
EU Commission presents its “Plastics Strategy” roadmap / Adoption this year / European Parliament opts for stricter waste legislation / 80% of packaging waste to be recycled by 2030
The EU Commission has conducted an interim stocktaking of its circular economy package. At the same time, it has also presented its roadmap for the European “Plastics Strategy”, together with the planned changes to the RoHS Directive. The Commission’s roadmap for implementing the Plastics Strategy sets out to inform all stakeholders about the Commission’s work, enabling them to participate efficiently in future consultation activities. The working paper states that the roadmap is not definitive and does not prejudge the Commission’s final decision.

With its strategy for plastics, the EU is not only wishing to set out the problems that plastic waste causes in the oceans, for example, but is also intending to put forward possible solutions along the whole plastics value chain. Central topics here are better recycling, waste prevention, eco design and measures to boost markets for secondary raw materials. The concept, which is being worked on by both the DG Environment and the DG Growth, is to be finalised by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament (EP) is currently sending out positive signals for the circular economy. On 14 March the EP accepted, at first reading, the proposals put forward by the EU Commission for amending the waste legislation, albeit with a number of modifications. Following the MEP’s vote, 70% of overall household waste will have to be recycled in 2030 – the current figure is 44%, and the Commission had proposed 65%. For packaging material, the MEPs are proposing a recycling target of 80% by 2030. Waste disposal on landfills is to be reduced to 5%– the Commission’s proposals have so far been based on 10%. “Today, the parliament has shown with a very large majority that it believes in the transition to a circular economy. We have taken the decision to reinstate the original, ambitious targets set for recycling and landfill that the EU Commission proposed in 2014”, said rapporteur Simona Bonafè.

“Re-use, recycling and recovery will become key concepts, with a new paradigm being developed to promote sustainability, innovation and competitiveness, with waste no longer being a problem but a resource”, she added.
EuPC engages in Plastics Strategy
European Plastics Converters (EuPC; www.plasticsconverters.eu) considers that the Commission’s roadmap offers a “broad perspective”. Both current technology developments and the role of industry and consumers have been taken into consideration. The association welcomes the call for clearer standards and framework conditions for biodegradable and oxo-fragmentable polymers. This would also make it possible to avoid contaminating current plastic recycling streams, among other things. Alongside the ecological aspects, EuPC managing director Alexandre Dangis also considers that implementing the Plastics Strategy will provide a major economic boost for the plastics industry in Europe – innovations, new jobs and, ultimately, improved competitiveness.
European Parliament's vote paves the way for bioplastics
European Bioplastics (EUBP), the association representing the bioplastics industry in Europe, welcomes the positive outcome of the European Parliament’s plenary vote on the waste legislation proposal. The plenary’s vote encourages EU member states to support the use of bio-based materials for the production of packaging and to improve market conditions for such materials and products. "Bio-based and recycled materials are starting to be equally recognised as a viable solution to make packaging more sustainable and reduce our dependency on finite fossil resources”, says François de Bie, chairman of EUBP.
Pack2Go Europe welcomes EP vote on key issues for food and beverage service sector
Europe’s association of foodservice packaging manufacturers, Pack2Go Europe (www.pack2go-europe.com/en/), welcomes the clear vote of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on revision of the Packaging & Packaging Waste Directive (94/62/EC). This included defence of the single market for packaged goods and recognition that food hygiene, consumer safety and public health imperatives must be taken into account when regulating environmental aspects of packaging.

A new attempt by the Greens to promote the introduction of national restrictions on specific packaging was rejected. This sends a clear message to the French government, which has put into place a controversial ban on disposable plastics tableware that is illegal under EU rules, according to Pack2Go Europe.

“We now have the weight of the entire European Parliament and the Commission against the sort of politically motivated, impractical ban that is supposed to come into force in France in 2020 against disposable tableware,” says Mike Turner of International Paper Foodservice Europe (Winsford / UK; www.internationalpaper.com) and current chairman of Pack2Go Europe.
20.03.2017 Plasteurope.com [236150-0]
Published on 20.03.2017
German version...German version of this article...
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