On January 26, 2017 the European Commission (EC) published the roadmap “Strategy on plastics in a circular economy.” Plastics is one of the five priority areas addressed in the EU Circular Economy Package which was adopted end of 2015 (FPF reported). The roadmap identifies three main problems with plastics that need to be addressed, and proposes several solutions for each:

1. A large proportion of plastics are produced with the use of virgin fossil fuels.

To address this problem, the EC calls for (i) a wider use of alternative feedstocks, such as plastics waste (recycled material) as well as biomass or carbon dioxide; (ii) development of innovative technologies to remove technical barriers to feedstock recycling, including the methods for recycling mixed plastic waste and dealing with substances of concern; (iii) provision of incentives for feedstock diversification.

2. The rate of recycling and reuse of plastics is low.

To address this problem, the EC suggests to (i) strengthen the incentives for the secondary plastics market; (ii) aim at designing products with better recyclability properties.

3. A large proportion of plastics end up as waste in the environment.

To address this problem, the EC aims to (i) reduce marine litter by 30%; (ii) develop a “clear sustainability framework for biodegradable plastics;” (iii) invest in educational programs that would enable the consumers to make more educated decisions in choosing more sustainable plastic products and waste management solutions.

The roadmap aims to inform stakeholders about the EC’s work on the matter. Interested parties are invited to provide feedback or share relevant information within a public consultation that will be launched soon. Additional background information can be found on the EC’s pages on plastic waste and the circular economy strategy.

Read more

EC (January 26, 2017). “Circular Economy: Commission delivers on its promises, offers guidance on recovery of energy from waste and works with EIB to boost investment.

Chemical Watch (January 26, 2017). “EU Commission issues plastics in circular economy roadmap.

EC (2016). “Plastic waste.” (last updated June 8, 2016)

EC (2017). “Circular economy strategy.” (last updated January 26, 2017)

European Bioplastics (January 27, 2017). “Bioplastics an important part of the EU roadmap for the strategy on plastics in a circular economy.

Plastics News Europe (February 7, 2017). “EuPC welcomes European Commission’s strategy for plastics.

Reference

EC (January 26, 2017). “ROADMAP Strategy on plastics in a circular economy.” (pdf)