NEWS SEARCH RESULTS ( 17 - 20 from 59 )

The PlastiCircle Challenge

18 May 2020

From the end of September 2019 until the beginning of January 2020, 65 Utrecht households tried to learn as much as possible about the separation and collection of plastic waste. They learnt a lot how to treat the plastic waste and Utrecht learnt much more about their needs. From the beginning, it was quite clear that the inhabitants need much more and clear information how to treat the waste inside a house. They find it not easy to understand how to recycle. Especially chips bags and multi-layer black pet trays are confusing. “Is it packaging waste or residual waste? Why can’t I put plastic toys in a mini container for plastic waste?” They understand the needs of plastic and see the advantages of the material, but expect that all plastics are recycled at the end.

Furthermore, inhabitants are confused about the difference in legislation and execution between regions and countries. Before, during and at the end, Utrecht did some tests and calculations. Plastic and residual waste were analysed. The quality of the plastic packaging waste did not improve in the pilot and reference area. Contamination of up to 36% in the pilot area was found. Being that a pity, as the residual waste contains more plastic packaging than the containers with plastic packaging waste. That means the circle is not closed. There is more work to do.

And what did Utrecht learn? That recycling is not only about information. It is also about reliable high frequency collection, for example. Or about having enough underground containers in the neighbourhood. Utrech also learnt that there are simple rules for how to determinate the plastic packaging waste. Is it from the kitchen or bathroom?; Is it empty?; Is it made out of plastic? Three times yes means that it can be dumped in the container for plastic packaging waste. But the most important conclusion was that plastic packaging should be made for recycling. Therefore, what happens at home should be in line with collection and treatment / recycling of waste. It is very interesting to think about these issues. The story will continue in the coming years. More information can be found here.

Coronacrisis could increase plastic pollution

14 May 2020

Italy is preparing for the next phase in its battle against COVID-19. Over the next few months, it will gradually ease lockdown restrictions. The Polytechnic University of Turin has estimated that during this period the country will need 1 billion masks and 500 million gloves per month. If only 1% of those masks are incorrectly disposed, the environment would have to deal with 40,000 of extra plastic pollution per month.

Italy is, of course, not the only country facing this challenge. Globally, most of the personal protective equipment (PPE) used to protect citizens and healthcare workers is single-use. Moreover, much of it is hard to recycle. Euronews notes, for example, that masks imported from China consist of multiple layers of different materials, making recycling much more complex. Mike Bilodeau, regional director of PlasticOceans in Europe, has argued that PPE should be produced locally and in a way that it can easily be recycled and reused. That means producing PPE out of a single polymer, so they can be traceable and collected in sealed disposable bins, where they can be disinfected and recycled. Currently, this is only happening on a very small scale, through local cooperations between NGO’s, researchers and regional institutions. 

Our reliance on single-use PPE has also been noticed by the European plastics industry. In a letter to Ursula van der Leyen, trade association European Plastics Converters noted that it “would like to draw the attention of the benefits of plastic to the benefits of plastic products and in particular single-use applications during the difficult times we are experiencing at this moment in history.” In light of that EPC asks the President of the European Commission to “inform all Member States of the postponement of the deadline for the implementation of the single-use plastic (SUP) Directive for at least an additional year and to lift all bans on some of the single-use plastic items.”

The SUP Directive, adopted last year by the European Commission, introduced an EU-ban on certain single-use plastic items, with the aim to reduce marine litter, 80% of which comes from land. According to the EPC, the free circulation of these goods is now crucial for health and safety reasons. These arguments were rejected by the EC, noting that the SUP Directive already foresees exceptions for medical devices. Furthermore Vivian Loonela, the EU Commission spokesperson for environmental issues, stated that "in the current circumstances, where many essential economic activities, including waste management are under pressure, it is even more important to continue the overall efforts to reduce waste." She also noted that it is currently too early to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the amount of plastic waste that will be generated in 2020.


Plastics Circularity Multiplier Conference Postponed

14 April 2020

The Plastics Circularity Multiplier conference in Brussels will take place on 14 October 2020. The conference was originally planned for 10 June, but the Corona-crisis made postponement inevitable. The organizers note that “under these difficult circumstances, our consideration must be for the health of everyone involved in the event.”

In October 2019 PlastiCircle became one of the 21 European projects to join The Plastics Circularity Mulitplier Group, in order to boost EU efforts towards a circular economy for plastics. The Group aims to pool resources and expertise to multiply key messages from the ecosystem of projects receiving funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

The Group has until now focused on communicating to policy makers, the public and industry about EU-funded innovations aiming to integrate plastic materials into the circular economy and create new business opportunities and jobs in Europe. Other scopes of collaboration related to the Plastics Circular Economy could defined as from September 2020.

A list of all the projects that are part of The Plastics Circularity Multiplier Group can be found here. Registration for the conference is required, but participation is free of charge. Everyone who registered for the June event, will be automatically registered for the one in October.


European Plastics Pact accelerates transition towards European circular plastics economy

24 March 2020

15 European governments and 66 companies have signed the European Plastics Pact. The pact, initiated by the French Ministry of the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food, commits its participants to a set of ambitious targets for 2025. The ultimate aim of this public-private coalition is to achieve a circular European plastics economy that avoids plastic waste and brings all the actors in the value chain together.

More specifically, the Pact is based on four core objectives. Firstly, by 2025 all plastic packaging and single-use plastic products placed on the market should be designed to be always recyclable and reusable whenever possible. Secondly, virgin plastic packaging should be reduced by 20% by 2025, with half of that reduction coming from an absolute reduction in plastics. Furthermore, the pact aims to increase collection, sorting and recycling capacity by at least 25% to reach a level that corresponds with the market demand for recycled plastics. Lastly, the use of recycled plastics should be boosted as much as possible, with an average of at least 30% recycled plastic across single-use plastic products and packaging.

Stientje van Veldhoven, the Dutch minister for Environment and Housing, notes these ambitious targets are highly necessary: “It’s time to change the game. If we want to tackle climate change, we need to look beyond energy to materials. We have to start treating plastic as the valuable raw material it is and keep it out of our oceans. We strive to reuse all plastic in the future.”

The members of the European Plastic Pact will try to achieve these goals by collaborating on a European scale across the value chain, harmonising guidelines, standards and national frameworks, and sharing best practices and lessons learned. While participation in the pact is voluntary, signing up for it comes with obligations. All signatories monitor progress and report on it each year. Moreover, a Secretariat will keep track of the results.

Read more about the European Plastic Pact here