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Is Ocean Bound Plastic a new profitable market?

Or just an accelerator in professionalizing the branch?

The questions to be answered:

Are you willing to pay more for rPET if it’s been labeled as Ocean Bound Plastic ?

And what if some of the rPET doesn’t apply to the definition ?

Will traceability and certification be standard in a quality program ?

The term Ocean Bound plastics leads in almost every case back to Jenna Jambeck. The definition of Ocean-bound plastic was defined and published in Science in 2015:

  • [Waste plastic] found within 50km distance of an ocean coastline or major waterway that feeds into the ocean
  • The country or region lacks waste management infrastructure and collection incentives
  • The infrastructure is being overwhelmed by population growth or tourism
  • There is a significant risk to wildlife if plastic contaminates their ecosystem.

Nowadays companies are offering ocean-bound plastic as an alternative option anduse her definition as a basis for their marketing activities and corporate social responsibility programs. Most of the companies made their own interpretation of the definition and changed or added specifications!

Needless to say that collecting these plastics before they reach oceans is a useful initiative. It is also easier and cheaper than once they have drowned in the bottom of oceans or are dispersed as a soup of micro particles. It is commonly admitted that 80% of plastic in the seas, comes from land.

Using the definition of OBP will introduce the aspect of traceability. It gives converters, buyers, manufacturers and consumers a better insight in the origins of the material next to a better feeling for consumers that they are doing the right thing! Plastic waste and pollution originate from several different sources. Besides Ocean Bound Plastic, also plastic is collected as a by-product of production and manufacturing, in streams, rivers flowing to the ocean, material washed up on coasts and of course in the ocean itself.

Defined areas with plastic waste

Local communities in at-risk areas where plastic will end up in the oceans will profit from the term Ocean Bound Plastic. They will be incentivized to collect, sort and process plastic waste into high-quality recycled material. Also consumers with the option to purchase products packaged in recycled material that has been proven to come from at-risk regions of the world will feel good to contribute to the reduction of waste and pollution.

The same consumers will ask for traceability and preferably a third party certification to be sure they bought the right, more expensive, goods. But can traceability be 100% guaranteed and what will be the consequences for communities and initiatives outside of the area defined for Ocean Bound Plastic ?

The process of making it traceable and also certified makes the branch more professional and helps to achieve quality standards. It also contributes to a better awareness of our worldwide problem with waste and pollution. But these initiatives in the process also make the material more expensive. The questions I have:

  • Are you as a buyer, manufacturer, consumer willing to pay more knowing where the material, with the same quality, is coming from?
  • Do you mind if a part of the recycled material is not applying to the ocean bound plastic definition?
  • Will traceability and certification (more than a CoO or Form A) be standard in the future for any recycled material?

In essence, we should pay more for material from an at-risk area because we prevented the material from entering the ocean. However, the converters and traders are under pressure from brands that want them to supply recycled content at the lowest possible price. It will be a financially challenging situation for recyclers.

Let’s find it out together! Dutch PET Recycling is also working with suppliers offering Ocean Bound Plastic.

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EU agrees tax on plastic packaging waste

EU leaders have struck a deal on a landmark corona virus recovery package that will involve the European Commission undertaking massive borrowing on the capital markets. Part of this deal is a tax on plastic packaging wastes. Finally good news for the plastic recycling industry!

Read the whole story: By Stefan Baumgarten, 21-Jul-20 17:11

LONDON (ICIS), As part of their €750bn coronavirus pandemic recovery package, EU leaders agreed on a new EU tax on plastic packaging wastes.

The tax, to be introduced as of 1 January 2021, will be calculated on the weight of nonrecycled plastic packaging waste “with a call rate of €0.80/kilogramme with a mechanism to avoid excessively regressive impact on national contributions.” Proceeds from the tax will go to the EU.

German environmental group Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) welcomed the tax, saying it was long overdue. However, DUH said that the tax rate was “too timid”. “We need a price that really causes a change in direction,” said DUH director general Jurgen Resch. “And we need regulations that, above all, end the littering of nature and cities with unnecessary disposable products, be it disposable plastic bottles, plastic bags or disposable coffee-to-go cups,” he said.

Also, instead of basing the tax on the weight of nonrecycled plastic packaging waste, it would be more effective to tax new, virgin primary plastics in packaging as soon as it is put into circulation, DUH said.

Trade group PlasticsEurope could not immediately be reached for comment. Last week, German chemical producers’ trade group VCI warned against the introduction of EU tax on plastics packaging waste that is not recycled. Legislative measures have driven firms throughout the petrochemical industry and the packaging sector to adopt increasingly ambitious sustainability targets which often go beyond EU mandated minimums.

Many plastic bottle manufacturers are targeting at least 50% recycled material by 2030, or shifting to other materials such as bio-based or non-plastic alternatives which often have a larger environmental impact than plastic because of higher energy usage, CO2 output and weight.

The recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) chain is perhaps the key example of the extent of the shortage of material because it is currently the most widely recycled plastic in Europe and has the most developed market and infrastructure, Victory said.

Despite a collection rate of 63% in 2018, the growth rate in collection has slowed at less than 3%/year. ICIS analysis shows to achieve the single-use plastic (SUP) target of 77% the annual growth rate needs to be 9%/year, and this does not even factor in the increasing contamination rates within the region. Cross contamination from other plastics and losses due to the mechanical process, has seen average wastage rates across Europe rise from 25% to around 30-35% according to market estimates.

Other sectors such as fibres and chemical recycling projects are increasingly seeking a higher share of postconsumer polyethylene terephthalate (PET) waste.

Packaging producers using materials such as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) have also investigated a switch to other materials including PET because of the perception, caused by the headline collection rates, that R-PET material – particularly food-grade material – is in abundant supply.

An additional limit for the plastic bottle market is the lack of food-grade pellet (FGP) production, which currently stands at around 300,000 tonnes/year in Europe, or around 9% of overall PET plastic bottle demand. Coupled with this, to achieve European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) approval, 95% of the material used in reprocessing must have been sourced from food-contact applications, and there must be full and provable traceability throughout the chain.

For R-PET the major feedstock is used plastic drinks bottles, so reaching the 95% threshold is not currently a challenge. But for other recycled material where multiple forms of waste are collected in kerbside schemes, proving provenance of material to reach the 95% content threshold is prohibitive.

For recycled PE (R-PE), for example, the only post-consumer-derived source of food grade pellets is the UK where milk bottles provide an easily separated stream of waste.

The capacity for food grade R-PET is set to increase with limited projects coming on stream into 2021 yet investment is still required to grow capacity at the same rate as demand. FGP usage must triple on 2018 volumes to achieve the SUP 25% target, clearly a challenge for the industry given the pandemic and macroeconomics it faces.

Structural shortages of material, along with technical limitations such as opacity of material and loss of tensile strength, have led companies to explore other avenues for reaching sustainability commitments such as chemical recycling or bio-based materials.

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“Recycling is very good, reuse is even better.”

State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven (Ministry for Infrastructure and Water Management in the Netherlands) starts a new offensive against packaging waste together with manufacturers. The aim is to reduce the use of packaging, to stimulate reuse of packaging and to improve the quality of collection and recycling.

It concerns the introduction of European rules, whereby Van Veldhoven goes one step further together with the packaging industry in the Netherlands. In addition to introducing the European recycling targets, it has agreed concrete circular targets with packaging companies up to and including 2025 by adding reuse to recycling. The Netherlands is the first European country to set circular objectives in this way.

Mindmap how to reach EU’s 25% targets in 2025

Read the full story (in Dutch):

Van Veldhoven start nieuw offensief tegen verpakkingsafval

Staatssecretaris Stientje van Veldhoven start samen met producenten een nieuw offensief tegen verpakkingsafval. Dit schrijft zij aan de Tweede Kamer. Doel hiervan is het gebruik van verpakkingen terug te dringen, hergebruik van verpakkingen te stimuleren en de kwaliteit van inzameling en recycling te verbeteren.

Het gaat om invoering van Europese regels, waarbij van Veldhoven samen met het verpakkend bedrijfsleven in Nederland nog een stap verder gaat. Naast het invoeren van de Europese recycle doelstellingen heeft zij tot en met 2025 concrete circulaire doelstellingen met het verpakkend bedrijfsleven afgesproken door hergebruik aan recycling toe te voegen. Nederland is het eerste Europese land dat op deze manier circulaire doelstellingen vastlegt.

Van Veldhoven: “Recyclen is goed, hergebruik is nóg beter. Het Nederlandse verpakkende bedrijfsleven behoort internationaal tot de koplopers in het slimmer omgaan met materialen en het besparen van CO2. Dit verdient een compliment. Samen werken we toe naar een schone, groene toekomst.”

Cees de Mol van Otterloo, directeur van het Afvalfonds Verpakkingen: “In Nederland realiseren we voor verpakkingen al hoge recycleresultaten. Met de nieuwe recycledoelstellingen wordt een nieuwe stip op de horizon gezet op weg naar een circulaire economie voor verpakkingen.”

Het gaat om nieuwe afspraken over recycling en hergebruik van glas, kunststof, papier en karton, metaal en hout. Het EU-recyclingdoel voor alle verpakkingen samen is zeventig procent voor 2030. Nederland haalt deze doelstelling in 2021 al en legt de lat hoger. In 2025 moet in Nederland 74 procent gerecycled en/of hergebruikt worden.

Eén van de maatregelen om dit doel te halen, is door het scheiden voor burgers eenvoudiger te maken. Met uitzondering van glas en oud-papier, horen straks alle lege verpakkingen bij het PMD (Plastic, Metaal en Drankkartons). De inzameling van glazen bierflesjes is en blijft een vrijwillig systeem. De laatste jaren doken echter steeds meer bierflesjes op zonder statiegeld. Door hergebruik mee te tellen, is er nu een prikkel voor producenten om statiegeld op deze flesjes te behouden en uit te bereiden.

Nederland is vooralsnog het enige Europese land dat, naast recycle doelstellingen, ook ambitieuze circulaire doelstellingen samen met het verpakkend bedrijfsleven heeft afgesproken. De Nederlandse circulaire -en Europese recycledoelen worden wettelijk vastgelegd en per 2021 ingevoerd. In 2025 wordt de werking van beide doelstellingen geëvalueerd.

Van Veldhoven: “We zijn als Nederland goed op weg, maar we willen toe naar alle verpakkingen recyclen en producenten stimuleren over te gaan tot hergebruik. Met deze circulaire doelstellingen zetten we een forse stap in de goede richting voor een schone, groene circulaire economie.”

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Spain’s proposed plastics tax receives lukewarm reception

Does the competition become more equal for rPET vs virgin? Or will the total use of plastic be reduced in favor of alternative (packaging) material?

An interesting article about virgin plastic tax, shared by DutchPETRecycling.

By Matt Tudball (ICIS), Additional reporting by Caroline Murray

Spain’s proposed tax on virgin plastics, announced recently as part of the government’s circular economy strategy, has received a mixed reaction from the European polymers markets. A series of measures that make up the strategy is expected to include a €0.45/kg tax on non-reusable plastic packaging following similar measures adopted elsewhere in Europe including the UK and Italy.

Sources in the market had a lukewarm outlook on the benefit of the tax – the first to be announced by an EU member state since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak – with several comparing it to the €450/ton Italian virgin plastics tax – which has been postponed until 2021 in light of the pandemic.

“We used plastic products during the covid-19 emergency and now they are thinking of a tax on plastics from January 2021. We are at the level Italy was a year ago,” a Spanish polymers trader said.

“It’s the same discussion Italy had. They asked for €1/kg then reduced the figure after a huge fight between the plastics sector and the government… and now we will have to go through the same fight. Nobody learns from others,” the trader added.

Others were less pessimistic. “This is a tax paid by everybody – everyone is in the same conditions to compete,” one polyethylene terephthalate (PET) producer said.

“The second point is how strong PET material is versus the other [polymers]… I don’t believe that people will go to the supermarket to buy a glass bottle of water. At the end of the day, we will all pay more and the government will get more money. If we all compete on the same terms, it’s more than welcome,” the producer added.

It currently is unclear whether products with a certain percentage of recycled content will be exempt, but this looks likely if Spain follow the same principles as the UK and Italy. In terms of the impact on the recycled market, a buyer of recycled PET (R-PET) believes it may increase competition for post-consumer bottles, the feedstock for the R-PET market.

“Bottles will be scarce, that is for sure. Either collection increases exponentially or we will all be running after the same feedstock material,” the buyer said.

The Italian tax on virgin plastics with less than 30% recycled material was meant to incentivize bottle producers and others to increase the amount of recycled plastic in their product. But as with the UK tax, there are concerns about the size of the tax and whether it will be enough to encourage converters to move away from virgin given current low PET prices.

Using the example of the UK tax, a UK-based PET buyer said, “£200/ton is not enough. If the premium to use recycled content is £600-700, it won’t make people use recycled material – unless people do it for marketing purposes.”

On the other hand, recyclers are worried that the tax will deter consumers from buying plastic products altogether – and more to goods packaged in paper, glass or cardboard.

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A new PET recycling stream…

Will we have a new recycled PET stream? Besides Clear, Light Blue and Green also Opaque might become interesting. Dutch PET Recycling shares this article of PETplanet.

Bottle-to-bottle recycling of light barrier white opaque PET

Bottles in opaque PET are increasingly replacing other material grades, especially in markets such as dairy and other sectors where demand is increasing. Thus far, a main concern was that the white opaque PET would lose one of the most important characteristics of PET, recyclability, but Spanish company Novapet is demonstrating that white opaque monolayer bottles can be separated and recycled into new bottles again.

In order to demonstrate the feasibility and viability of the monolayer white PET recycling, Novapet has created, for the first time, a dedicated recycling stream of this material in a commercial recycling facility, sorting and recycling white opaque PET bottles into white flakes from standard bales collected in Spain. The recycling process is based on IR/VIS sorters, which are available in the majority of plants. It will require a detailed market study to assess the amount of input material and to adapt the configuration of the sorting system.

The white flakes can be decontaminated according EFSA requirements and used again as raw material for the production of a recycled opacifier masterbatch or directly to rPET mono-layer bottles. Various formulas would have to be applied depending on final use and light barrier requirements, to maintain the same machine throughput and without impacting properties, functionality and colour.

Novapet’s specialist team have technically validated that it is possible to reprocess the white flakes, thus obtaining new white opaque resin and masterbatch formulations. All these formulations have been characterised along the entire process, controlling the key variables, in order to assure good processability and the decontamination conditions in the SSP reactor. Thus the process demonstrates that the recycling process to produce white recycled PET is able to be used for manufacturing containers in the food industry.

The new family of recycled products, rDCU and rDairy, will be commercially available by the end of 2020.

The complete article can be read in PETplanet Insider 6 / 2020

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Deposit on plastic bottles excellent news for the environment

We are happy to share an article about new deposit measures by Dutch government regarding PET bottles. The original article was written by Tom Zoete, 24 april 2020, of Recycling Netwerk.

In the Netherlands, a deposit return system for small plastic bottles will come into effect on the 1st of July 2021, the Dutch State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management, Stientje van Veldhoven, announced today in a letter to the Parliament.

This entails a huge expansion of the current deposit return system in the Netherlands. “After decades of resistance by industry, this government’s decision is excellent news in the fight against plastic pollution”, director Rob Buurman of environmental NGO Recycling Netwerk Benelux reacts.

Currently, only plastic bottles larger than 1 liter have a deposit in the Netherlands. On the 1st of July 2021, small bottles under 1 liter will come with a deposit amount of minimum 0.15 euro. Each year, 1 billion small plastic bottles are sold in the Netherlands. Between 50 and 100 million of them end up in litter. The Dutch authorities are also preparing legislation for deposits on beverage cans.

In 2017, Recycling Netwerk Benelux co- founded the “Statiegeldalliantie” (Deposit Return System Alliance) in order to give a voice to Dutch and Belgian proponents of a deposit return system (DRS) on all plastic bottles and cans. The alliance grew very rapidly and today counts 1055 Dutch and Belgian consumer organisations, farmer organisations, municipalities, and a wide variety of organisations and companies.

In the process, the Dutch authorities commissioned a study on the economic and environmental benefits of DRS. The results were very convincing. In every scenario the estimated net benefits for businesses (31 – 121 million euro) outweigh the costs (10 – 110 million euro). They would also save between 5.5 and 8 million euro on alternative collection systems. And additionally, municipalities could save between 83 and 90 million euro on the costs of cleaning up plastic bottles and cans and emptying public garbage bins. DRS is expected to reduce the amount of these beverage containers in the environment with 70-90% and significantly increase recycling rates of plastic bottles and cans.

Over the years, Dutch supermarkets and beverage producers have made promises over and over again to reduce plastic bottles and cans in litter and have failed to do so every time. The government gave industry, which was still heavily lobbying against DRS, one last chance to reduce the number of plastic bottles in the environment with at least 70% between 2017 and 2019. In these two years, however, the amount of plastic bottles in litter actually increased with 7% and the cans increased with 16%, according to the official monitoring results.

Importantly, the European Directive on Single-Use Plastics demands that Member States achieve a 90% separate collection of plastic bottles by the end of the decade. The Netherlands has advanced its national deadline and is determined to reach this 90% separate collection target already in 2022 by means of DRS.

“By implementing a deposit on small plastic bottles, the Netherlands takes a big step. The Dutch government shows that this is no time to delay or abandon our environmental ambitions. Even in difficult times it’s possible to make good policy decisions that will benefit the economy, society and the environment, rather than bowing to industry attempts to use the pandemic as an excuse for backsliding on popular initiatives”, director Rob Buurman of Recycling Netwerk Benelux says.

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How Corona affects our business pt. 2

By Roel Wollaert; Dutch PET Recycling _________ Arnhem, 21 April 2020

Some weeks ago, we started with an article about our business during the Corona or COVID-19 crisis. In this article we will give an update on how we are dealing with the circumstances and what we see happening around us.

In our own working process, nothing has changed drastically. We are used to work in a global network where we have contact with our suppliers and customers at a distance. However, not all parties concerned have the availability of all tools. That’s why, sometimes, we have to be patient and understanding. Especially in countries where a lockdown forces you to stay at home and one is not able to contact the bank for a transaction or check upon the Chamber of commerce for a Certificate of Origin.

Using disposable gloves, syringes, insulin pens, masks, catheters etcetera reduces the risks of infections. But it also makes the work process easier and faster because less material has to be sterilized.

In non-medical industries, plastic use is also increasing. Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts forbid reusable cups; the food industry is using more plastic to extend the shelf life and now uses the argument that plastic is more hygienic and easier to use. Restaurants try to survive by offering take away food in…(rPET-made) plastic boxes. Plastic protection screens are used for cashiers in supermarkets. Everywhere around you, more plastic is used due to COVID-19!

One may be worried about the limited volumes entering collection systems. Consumers (recycling) behavior is changing. People are buying bottles, but they don’t bring them back, they store it. Collectors in Asian and African countries are facing restrictions to do their job. Many will be looking at how used PET bottles are returned to the recycling stream during the outbreak. The availability of rPET might become scarce.

Demand for virgin PET has already increased significantly in March as Europeans began to buy food and other necessities in higher volumes. Plans of using more recycled plastic and reduce plastic waste, sometimes, seem to be no longer a top priority.

Another concern is the impact on logistics. Several countries have closed their borders and restricted the movement of goods and people, getting material to and from harbors and recycling units. Until now we only had some minor problems but recently most transport was running smoothly again.

Social distancing will become a way of life the coming months and maybe years. What this will do to our business is not easy to predict. For the time being, the majority of the recycling industry continues to operate without too much problems. Sudden local problems we will be able to handle, as our network is diversified. We will see what the future will bring us.

For now: Stay safe, healthy, and take care of the environment!

On behalf of all employees and agents at Dutch PET Recycling.

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New technology to depolymerise PET waste

CARBIOS announces the publication of an article on its enzymatic recycling technology in the prestigious scientific journal ”Nature”. This publication outlines Company’s proprietary process for converting plastic waste into new bottles – a breakthrough towards a circular economy.

www.dutchpetrecycling.com thinks this is relevant content to share within the recycling industry. To go directly to the article on Nature.com, press the link here.

April 14, 2020 | Recycling technology | CARBIOS | Paris | France

CARBIOS, a company pioneering new bio-industrial solutions to reinvent the lifecycle of plastic and textile polymers, announces the publication of an article in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, entitled “An engineered PET-depolymerase to break down and recycle plastic bottles”. The article is co-authored by scientists at Carbios and at the Company’s renowned academic partner, the Toulouse Biotechnology Institute.

The article describes the development of a novel enzyme, which can biologically depolymerize all polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic waste, followed by an extremely efficient recycling into new bottles. PET is the most common thermoplastic polymer and is used to manufacture bottles, polyester clothing fibers, food containers, and various thermoformed packaging and components. Carbios’ recycling process, the first of its kind, initiates a real transition to a circular economy and can better prevent plastic pollution from harming our oceans and planet. This innovative technology also paves the way for recycling PET fibers, another major challenge in guaranteeing a clean and protected environment for future generations.

Prof. Alain Marty, Carbios’ Chief Scientific Officer and co-author of the Nature article says: “I am very proud that Nature, one of the most highly respected scientific journals in the world, has validated the quality of the research led by Carbios and TBI laboratory scientists in developing a PET recycling enzyme and a revolutionary process. The results obtained confirm the industrial and commercial potential of the Company’s proprietary process, which will be tested in 2021 in our demonstration plant in the heart of the French Chemical Valley, near Lyon.”

Sophie Duquesne, INRAE Researcher: “For any researcher, seeing its work recognized by the prestigious journal Nature is a true achievement. I am very proud of the work accomplished by the researchers at TBI and Carbios, whose collaborative efforts have led to the development of a sustainable solution to the end of life of plastics.”

Dr. Saleh Jabarin, Distinguished Professor at The University of Toledo, Ohio and a member of Carbios’ Scientific Committee: “It’s a real breakthrough in the recycling and manufacturing of PET. Thanks to the innovative technology developed by Carbios, the PET industry will become truly circular, which is the goal for all players in this industry, especially brand-owners, PET producers and our civilization as a whole.”

Bertrand Piccard, Founder and President of the Solar Impulse Foundation: “I am very pleased that the scientific community recognizes one of the solutions labelled by the Solar Impulse Foundation as a financially profitable solution to protect the environment. The use of such technology is as logical as it is ecological!”

Nature, the highest Impact Factor scientific journal, recognizes the ground-breaking quality of the enzymatic engineering research being done by Carbios and TBI, that is paving the way to virtuous management of plastic waste. “Carbios is the first company to successfully combine the two scientific worlds of enzymology and plastics”, as Dr. Philippe Pouletty, CEO of Truffle Capital and Co-founder of Carbios, comments.

By leveraging many years of experience with a world-renowned team, Carbios and TBI are proud to have been able to increase the degradation yield of PET waste to 90% in 10 hours, a significant upswing from the initial degradation yield of 1% after several weeks. This paradigm shift in how effectively PET can be recycled, is leading toward a future circular economy technology applicable to all PET waste, which Carbios is proud to be spearheading.

To read the article on Nature.com, press the link here.

More information about: www.carbios.fr

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New initiative for a circular plastics economy

March 6th 2020 Launch of the European Plastics Pact

About the European Plastics Pact

Initially led by France, the Netherlands and Denmark, the European Plastic Pact is a public-private coalition that forms a European network of companies, states and other organisations such as NGOs on mastering single-use plastic products and packaging.

In the face of the proliferation of plastic waste, the aim of the pact is to set ambitious common objectives and to encourage cooperation, innovation and harmonisation at the European level, in order to bring about a truly circular European plastics economy.

The Pact relies on the “pioneers” in the plastics value chain and on the most committed governments, in order to create a bold movement that will pave the way for the rest of the market.

The Pact works on all levels to reduce the release of plastics into the environment: by improving the recyclability and reusability of products by design, by shifting to a more responsible use of plastics, by increasing collection, sorting and recycling, and by incorporating more recycled materials into new products and packaging.

Mastering the use of plastics in a circular economy

Plastics are everywhere in our daily lives, bringing many economic and environmental benefits. Plastics are strong, durable and versatile materials. They enhance comfort, safety and hygiene. Using plastics packaging can increase the shelf life of products and reduce fuel costs in transportation of goods, helping to cut carbon emissions. All this has resulted in a huge surge in plastics production. Over the past fifty years, the global use of plastics has increased twentyfold and is still growing.

At the same time, plastic waste is increasingly becoming a global problem, as reuse and recycling of plastics have not kept pace. This is because many products and packaging types are not designed for reuse or effective recycling. Not all use of plastics is necessary for product functionality. In addition, collection, sorting and recycling are still underdeveloped. This means a significant proportion of our plastic waste is still being incinerated or goes to landfill, which negatively affect carbon emissions. Another part ends up as litter in our environment, where it may harm wildlife or degrade into potentially harmful microplastics. While all this valuable material is being wasted, the proportion of fossil fuel being used to produce new plastics continues to grow (from 6% of oil production now to an estimated 20% by 2050).

The common vision

To tackle plastics waste and pollution at the source, we need to fundamentally rethink the way we produce, use and reuse plastics. No single organisation or individual can do this on its own. It requires a systemic shift, involving collective action by businesses from across the plastics value chain, governments, and civil society. A common vision aligns all actors on a joint understanding of what good looks like. It guides the search for solutions and aligns actions taken in the European Plastics Pact on a common sense of direction.

For plastics, the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy has set out a vision for a plastics circular economy in the EU. For plastic packaging, the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme, has united more than 400 organisations from across the global plastics packaging value chain behind a common vision of a circular economy for plastics. These include plastic packaging producers, consumer goods companies, retailers, companies involved in the collection, sorting and recycling of plastics, as well as national, regional and city governments, NGOs, financial institutions, industry associations, universities and other international organisations such as the World Economic Forum and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). National plastics pacts, such as The French National Pact on Plastic Packaging, the Plastics Pact NL and the UK Plastics Pact have taken action towards the same common vision for a circular economy for plastics. The European Plastics Pact adopts this vision, as this provides a global framework for our actions.

Infographic European Plastics Pact

The Goals:

  • Reusability and recyclability by design
    • To design all plastic packaging and single-use plastic products brought to the market by participants to be reusable where possible, and in all cases to be recyclable by 2025.
  • Responsible use of plastics
    • To shift towards a more responsible use of plastic packaging and single-use plastic products, aiming for a reduction in virgin plastic products and packaging of at least 20% (by weight) by 2025, with half of this reduction coming from an absolute reduction of plastics.
  • Collection, sorting and recycling
    • To raise the collection, sorting and recycling capacity in the involved countries of all plastics used in packaging and single use products by at least 25 percentage points by 2025 and to reach a quality standard of the output of the collection, sorting, and recycling process that matches market demand for recycled plastics.
  • Use of recycled plastics
    • To boost recycled plastics use in new products and packaging as much as possible by 2025, with plastics-using company achieving an average of at least 30% recycled plastics (in weight) in their range of products and packaging.
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Plastics and Climate: A deal for the future!

This article published by PlasticsEurope gives you good examples why plastics and climate can be an ideal combination. Especially if recycled PET or Food Grade pellets are used.

When it comes to climate change mitigation, plastics have a great story to tell.

Europe can only succeed on the global stage if it drives also the transition towards a low carbon, resource efficient and circular economy. For this to happen, plastics enable the innovations that are needed by a sustainability strategy – such as the European Green Deal – to deliver.

Key for Europe’s building & construction renovation wave

You do not necessarily see plastics in your building, but they are there. Plastics are a springboard for the renovation wave in the building sector as they enable big energy savings and are carbon efficient. Plastic insulation improves the energy efficiency of your home, which translates into a positive impact on climate. In fact, it saves up to 80% of your energy consumption and 250 times more energy than used to produce it.

“Tectonic” shift towards sustainable mobility

You may not be aware of where plastics are used in your car, but they are doing their job for you – in car body parts, airbags, carpets, electrification, under the hood, to name but a few.

Thanks to its lightweight properties, plastics contribute efficiently to fuel savings which translate into lower CO2 emissions in diverse fields of transport, including electric mobility. Plastics enable up to 35% fuel savings compared to components made from other materials.

Preserving food from farm to fork

Food waste is one of the biggest challenges of our society. Plastic packaging saves food by protecting it from external factors – damage, deterioration, spoilage from farm to fork and ensuring hygiene. Research shows that, if food were packed in a material other than plastics, the related energy consumption would double, greenhouse gas emissions would nearly triple, overall weight of packaging would quadruple, and food waste would increase.

The weight of plastic packaging has been reduced by more than 35% over a 20-year period. Lightweight packaging means lighter loads or fewer lorries needed to ship the same amount of products, helping to reduce transportation energy, decrease emissions and lower shipping costs.

Transforming the energy sector

Plastics enable the production of clean and renewable energy as windmill blades and solar panels are made with plastics. In a nutshell, plastics can make the difference by providing solutions for affordable renovation of households, sustainable transport, easier access to safe food, clean, reliable and affordable energy.