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European Green Deal: ‘Plastic packaging in EU reusable or recyclable by 2030’

12 December 2019

All plastic packaging products in European Union markets are to be reusable or recyclable by 2030, according to the text of the EU Green Deal unveiled yesterday by the European Commission.

Unveiled in Brussels by European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, the European Green Deal sets the tone for a new growth strategy in the European Union, the central tenets of which are resource efficiency, the competitiveness of the bloc and net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The proposal by the Commission also sets out specific policy levers for the circular economy in the EU, under the guise of a Circular Economy Action Plan - due for March 2020 - with a sustainable products policy to “support the circular design of all products”.

According to the communication, the action plan will “prioritise reducing and reusing materials” before they are recycled, in addition to setting measures so that environmentally harmful products are not placed on the EU market. “Extended producer responsibility will also be strengthened,” according to the document – but no details are given on how this will be done.

Europe-wide action is slated for all sectors, but especially for textiles, construction, electronics and plastics.

On plastics, the Commission says that follow-up to the 2018 plastics strategy will focus in particular on “measure to tackle intentionally added micro plastics and (the) unintentional release of plastics” (i.e. from textiles or tyre abrasion).

Crucially, the document says that the new European Commission “will develop requirements to ensure that all packaging in the EU market is reusable or recyclable in an economically viable manner by 2030”.

There will also be a regulatory framework for biodegradable and bio-based plastics, in view of the impending growth of production of plastics made from renewable materials.

The European Green Deal is online.

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