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

CIRC-PACK final event changed to webinar on solutions and Green Deal

11 March 2020

As a consequence of the ongoing Coronavirus situation in Europe, CIRC-PACK’s final event, a 'Breakfast at Sutainability’s‘ scheduled to take place in Brussels on March 17, has been changed to a webinar on the same date.

The webinar will focus on the same two central themes as originally planned for the final event: plastics in the circular economy and the CIRC-PACK solutions. It will take place from 10-11.15 on March 17.

The CIRC-PACK project has run for three years and developed new innovations and scalable solutions for the plastics challenge. The three different solutions cover:

  • Plastics from renewable sources
  • Eco-friendly packaging design
  • Enhanced sorting and recycling

In the webinar, CIRC-PACK will introduce the solutions and their main results, as well as their social acceptance tested by consumers. CIRCE, the organisation coordinating this project, willgive an environmental assessment tying into the European Green Deal.  Mr. Paulo Lemos, Policy Officer atthe European Commission, will put forward the ambitions of the European strategy for plastics in a circular economy and how it fits into the European Green Deal.

You can register for the webinar here.

Utrecht shares insights about its pilot

17 February 2020

From September 2019 until January 2020, the Municipality of Utrecht has executed its PlastiCircle pilot. The main goal was to increase the amount of collected plastic packaging waste from inhabitants. In August 2019, participants were recruited by using digital and social media. At the end, 60 households enlisted for the pilot. A digital platform was used for two-way communication. Articles, videos and other content about plastic waste were shared.

The first phase of the pilot was about awareness. The second focused on reducing the amount of plastic waste. Utrecht triggered participants’ action by giving them weekly assignments, such as counting the number the plastic packaging they opened during a day, how to handle the waste or testing their knowledge. At the beginning of December a panel discussion with some participants and project members was hold to discuss the main issues, problems and possible solutions regarding plastic waste. Some of the identified issues were: the low collection frequency, the distance to an underground container or different guidelines in the various regions in Europe. A bigger issue to tackle is the amount of single-use plastics. Before the pilot started, in the middle of it and at the end of it, waste was analysed and the collection rate was calculated.

Besides the pilot with the participants, key data and information about underground containers and filling degree sensors in driving routes were shared. This data was and is used for testing, in a newly build software, forecasting and route optimisation. In the coming period Utrecht test a newly build software. As part of the project a new tool has been developed. This tool is about instructing drivers to drive safer and more efficient: less fuel means less CO2.

Valencia pilot closes with high registration numbers and savings in the waste logistics

14 February 2020

The district of Sant Marcel·lí, in Valencia (Spain), has wrapped up the PlastiCircle pilot with a set of positive outcomes and results. A total of 1,462 citizens registered to take part in the pilot, that is 554 families were involved in the PlastiCircle activities. The most intense registration period was the pre-pilot and the first month of the pilot. Street informers played a big role in engaging people to join, by offering them detailed information about the Supermarcelina campaign and its goals, and supporting them with the registration.

The deployment of the smart containers worked according to the plan: 25 smart containers were installed before the pilot started so that participants could get their labels to put on their garbage bags and throw them in those containers, plus all the filling sensors for the containers worked properly. During the pilot, an extra node had to be installed so that the information from the filling sensors in all the containers could be received. The purpose of this information was to use it to improve waste logistics, by contributing to an optimisation of the routes of the collection trucks. Thanks to this optimisation trucks saved 41% of the distance travelled, the time of the collection operations was reduced by 32% and they achieved savings of 22% in their fuel consumption.

Participants involved in the pilot have highlighted the fact that being involved in the pilot has helped them to know how to sort plastic properly. The amount of PET recycled plastic during the campaign could be used to produce 102,000 T-shirts and achieved savings of 5,000 kg of CO2.