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General

Definitions for recycled plastics must not be set by companies

Today, ECOS, Zero Waste Europe, and the Rethink Plastic alliance have sent a letter calling on the European Commission to put on hold the development of overarching standards on plastics recyclability until related EU laws are adopted.

Going ahead with this standardisation process now would give companies the opportunity to set the ambition of definitions of recyclability-related terms, potentially weakening effective recyclability rates in Europe for years to come.

The European Commission must suspend the standardisation request process for plastics recycling. The process needs to be put on hold until the revision of the essential requirements for packaging waste is decided by democratically elected policymakers in the European Parliament and the EU Council, NGOs argue in a letter sent today to European Commission officials in DG GROW and DG ENVI.

The letter was triggered by the European Commission’s plan to issue a standardisation request to CEN and CENELEC by September 2021, aiming to set definitions, test and calculation methods for a wide range of terms related to plastics recycling and recycled plastics. The planned standardisation request is currently set to contain a list of definitions put forward by the industry’s Circular Plastics Alliance (CPA) [2]. The subsequent standardisation process would impact a number of crucial sectors such as packaging, buildings and construction, electronics, agriculture and automotive.

However, several similar technical terms are to be established soon in EU legislation, as part of the upcoming revision of essential requirements for packaging waste, and the implementing measures relating to the uptake of recycled content.

If industry-led definitions for recyclability are set in standards before they are defined in laws, future legislative efforts could be effectively halted or even watered down, with an important practical consequence in making recycling targets less reliable [3].

Once technical terms are set in legislation, standards can be a powerful tool in support of that legislation to improve the recyclability of plastic materials even further. For example, they could provide homogeneous packaging specifications, thus boosting recyclate quality and making it easier to effectively introduce old plastics into new products.

Fanny Rateau, Programme Manager at ECOS, said: “If the EU wants to ramp up its recycling rates, the legal foundations must first be set in stone, and this will only be achieved by legally binding definitions of crucial terms such as ‘recyclability’ or ‘recycled content’ . Standards can then take it to the next level and improve the recyclability of plastic materials even further. But not the other way around.”

Definitions for recycled plastics must not be set by companies

Today, ECOS, Zero Waste Europe, and the Rethink Plastic alliance have sent a letter calling on the European Commission to put on hold the development of overarching standards on plastics recyclability until related EU laws are adopted.

Going ahead with this standardisation process now would give companies the opportunity to set the ambition of definitions of recyclability-related terms, potentially weakening effective recyclability rates in Europe for years to come.

The European Commission must suspend the standardisation request process for plastics recycling. The process needs to be put on hold until the revision of the essential requirements for packaging waste is decided by democratically elected policymakers in the European Parliament and the EU Council, NGOs argue in a letter sent today to European Commission officials in DG GROW and DG ENVI.

The letter was triggered by the European Commission’s plan to issue a standardisation request to CEN and CENELEC by September 2021, aiming to set definitions, test and calculation methods for a wide range of terms related to plastics recycling and recycled plastics. The planned standardisation request is currently set to contain a list of definitions put forward by the industry’s Circular Plastics Alliance (CPA) [2]. The subsequent standardisation process would impact a number of crucial sectors such as packaging, buildings and construction, electronics, agriculture and automotive.

However, several similar technical terms are to be established soon in EU legislation, as part of the upcoming revision of essential requirements for packaging waste, and the implementing measures relating to the uptake of recycled content.

If industry-led definitions for recyclability are set in standards before they are defined in laws, future legislative efforts could be effectively halted or even watered down, with an important practical consequence in making recycling targets less reliable [3].

Once technical terms are set in legislation, standards can be a powerful tool in support of that legislation to improve the recyclability of plastic materials even further. For example, they could provide homogeneous packaging specifications, thus boosting recyclate quality and making it easier to effectively introduce old plastics into new products.

Fanny Rateau, Programme Manager at ECOS, said: “If the EU wants to ramp up its recycling rates, the legal foundations must first be set in stone, and this will only be achieved by legally binding definitions of crucial terms such as ‘recyclability’ or ‘recycled content’ . Standards can then take it to the next level and improve the recyclability of plastic materials even further. But not the other way around.”

Definitions for recycled plastics must not be set by companies

Today, ECOS, Zero Waste Europe, and the Rethink Plastic alliance have sent a letter calling on the European Commission to put on hold the development of overarching standards on plastics recyclability until related EU laws are adopted.

Going ahead with this standardisation process now would give companies the opportunity to set the ambition of definitions of recyclability-related terms, potentially weakening effective recyclability rates in Europe for years to come.

The European Commission must suspend the standardisation request process for plastics recycling. The process needs to be put on hold until the revision of the essential requirements for packaging waste is decided by democratically elected policymakers in the European Parliament and the EU Council, NGOs argue in a letter sent today to European Commission officials in DG GROW and DG ENVI.

The letter was triggered by the European Commission’s plan to issue a standardisation request to CEN and CENELEC by September 2021, aiming to set definitions, test and calculation methods for a wide range of terms related to plastics recycling and recycled plastics. The planned standardisation request is currently set to contain a list of definitions put forward by the industry’s Circular Plastics Alliance (CPA) [2]. The subsequent standardisation process would impact a number of crucial sectors such as packaging, buildings and construction, electronics, agriculture and automotive.

However, several similar technical terms are to be established soon in EU legislation, as part of the upcoming revision of essential requirements for packaging waste, and the implementing measures relating to the uptake of recycled content.

If industry-led definitions for recyclability are set in standards before they are defined in laws, future legislative efforts could be effectively halted or even watered down, with an important practical consequence in making recycling targets less reliable [3].

Once technical terms are set in legislation, standards can be a powerful tool in support of that legislation to improve the recyclability of plastic materials even further. For example, they could provide homogeneous packaging specifications, thus boosting recyclate quality and making it easier to effectively introduce old plastics into new products.

Fanny Rateau, Programme Manager at ECOS, said: “If the EU wants to ramp up its recycling rates, the legal foundations must first be set in stone, and this will only be achieved by legally binding definitions of crucial terms such as ‘recyclability’ or ‘recycled content’ . Standards can then take it to the next level and improve the recyclability of plastic materials even further. But not the other way around.”

Crude steel production increases

China is estimated to have produced 83.0 Mt in February 2021, up 10.9% on February 2020. India produced 9.1 Mt, down 3.1%. Japan produced 7.5 Mt, down 5.6%. The United States produced 6.3 Mt, down 10.9%. Russia is estimated to have produced 5.7 Mt, down 1.3%. South Korea produced 5.5 Mt, up 1.2%. Turkey produced 3.0 Mt, up 5.9%. Germany produced 3.1 Mt, down 10.4%. Brazil produced 2.8 Mt, up 3.8%. Iran is estimated to have produced 2.3 Mt, up 11.5%.

Table 1. Crude steel production by region
Feb 2021 (Mt) % change Feb 21/20 Jan-Feb 2021 (Mt) % change Jan-Feb 21/20
Africa 1.2 -6.4 2.4 -6.9
Asia and Oceania 109.7 7.5 230.8 10.1
CIS 8.0 -1.5 16.8 -0.4
EU (27) 11.9 -7.1 24.1 -3.7
Europe, Other 3.9 5.2 8.2 6.9
Middle East 3.2 -0.9 6.8 0.4
North America 8.8 -8.9 18.5 -7.1
South America 3.5 2.2 7.3 6.6
Total 64 countries 150.2 4.1 315.0 6.6

Crude steel production increases

China is estimated to have produced 83.0 Mt in February 2021, up 10.9% on February 2020. India produced 9.1 Mt, down 3.1%. Japan produced 7.5 Mt, down 5.6%. The United States produced 6.3 Mt, down 10.9%. Russia is estimated to have produced 5.7 Mt, down 1.3%. South Korea produced 5.5 Mt, up 1.2%. Turkey produced 3.0 Mt, up 5.9%. Germany produced 3.1 Mt, down 10.4%. Brazil produced 2.8 Mt, up 3.8%. Iran is estimated to have produced 2.3 Mt, up 11.5%.

Table 1. Crude steel production by region
Feb 2021 (Mt) % change Feb 21/20 Jan-Feb 2021 (Mt) % change Jan-Feb 21/20
Africa 1.2 -6.4 2.4 -6.9
Asia and Oceania 109.7 7.5 230.8 10.1
CIS 8.0 -1.5 16.8 -0.4
EU (27) 11.9 -7.1 24.1 -3.7
Europe, Other 3.9 5.2 8.2 6.9
Middle East 3.2 -0.9 6.8 0.4
North America 8.8 -8.9 18.5 -7.1
South America 3.5 2.2 7.3 6.6
Total 64 countries 150.2 4.1 315.0 6.6

EU microplastic ban just got a step closer, but has major loopholes

The European Commission has pledged to ban microplastic from cosmetics, paints, detergents, some farm, medical and other products to prevent 500,000 tonnes polluting mostly rivers and seas. The legal process moved forward on Tuesday when a detailed proposal was presented by ECHA to the Commission. The legal restriction is expected to become law next year.

But following industry lobbying, the proposal has major loopholes, according to the Rethink Plastic alliance of environmental groups. Some sectors could get up to 8 years to drop microplastic, while ‘biodegradable’ microplastic that has not been shown to degrade in the environment could escape the ban. The 500,000 tonnes target will be impossible to achieve unless the proposal is improved, they calculated.

European Environmental Bureau chemicals policy officer Elise Vitali said: “Microplastic pollution is everywhere: in our drinking water, our fields, filling the air in cities and even inside our bodies. The EU is right to build on its reputation of tackling plastic pollution with this new ban. But it must avoid being sidetracked by industry-sponsored loopholes. We want a quick and broad restriction with no green light for unproven biodegradable plastic.”

Hélène Duguy, chemicals lawyer at ClientEarth, said: “The EU promised to turn off the taps on microplastic pollution. Take sport pitches – it’s a gigantic source of microplastics pollution and it’s now up to the Commission to make sure that a full ban is in order. When it comes to cosmetics – another well-known source of this pollution – the Commission needs to reject the lenient proposal that would give the cosmetics industry a free pass to continue business as usual until 2028, even where alternatives are available.”

Microplastic pollution is irreversible and causes considerable harm to the environment, with potential grave consequences for humans. EU scientific advisors have recognised that microplastics pose an unacceptable risk, which justifies a comprehensive ban.

The groups are urging the Commission to adopt a broad restriction that covers all microplastics in all sectors and uses.

The proposal is now in the hands of the Commission’s industry department, which has not always shown ambition on chemicals policy, the NGOs said. The Commission has until late May 2021 to draft the restriction text, which will then go to a vote of member state experts. The European Parliament and Council of Ministers then have three months to object, but rarely do.

EU microplastic ban just got a step closer, but has major loopholes

The European Commission has pledged to ban microplastic from cosmetics, paints, detergents, some farm, medical and other products to prevent 500,000 tonnes polluting mostly rivers and seas. The legal process moved forward on Tuesday when a detailed proposal was presented by ECHA to the Commission. The legal restriction is expected to become law next year.

But following industry lobbying, the proposal has major loopholes, according to the Rethink Plastic alliance of environmental groups. Some sectors could get up to 8 years to drop microplastic, while ‘biodegradable’ microplastic that has not been shown to degrade in the environment could escape the ban. The 500,000 tonnes target will be impossible to achieve unless the proposal is improved, they calculated.

European Environmental Bureau chemicals policy officer Elise Vitali said: “Microplastic pollution is everywhere: in our drinking water, our fields, filling the air in cities and even inside our bodies. The EU is right to build on its reputation of tackling plastic pollution with this new ban. But it must avoid being sidetracked by industry-sponsored loopholes. We want a quick and broad restriction with no green light for unproven biodegradable plastic.”

Hélène Duguy, chemicals lawyer at ClientEarth, said: “The EU promised to turn off the taps on microplastic pollution. Take sport pitches – it’s a gigantic source of microplastics pollution and it’s now up to the Commission to make sure that a full ban is in order. When it comes to cosmetics – another well-known source of this pollution – the Commission needs to reject the lenient proposal that would give the cosmetics industry a free pass to continue business as usual until 2028, even where alternatives are available.”

Microplastic pollution is irreversible and causes considerable harm to the environment, with potential grave consequences for humans. EU scientific advisors have recognised that microplastics pose an unacceptable risk, which justifies a comprehensive ban.

The groups are urging the Commission to adopt a broad restriction that covers all microplastics in all sectors and uses.

The proposal is now in the hands of the Commission’s industry department, which has not always shown ambition on chemicals policy, the NGOs said. The Commission has until late May 2021 to draft the restriction text, which will then go to a vote of member state experts. The European Parliament and Council of Ministers then have three months to object, but rarely do.

EU microplastic ban just got a step closer, but has major loopholes

The European Commission has pledged to ban microplastic from cosmetics, paints, detergents, some farm, medical and other products to prevent 500,000 tonnes polluting mostly rivers and seas. The legal process moved forward on Tuesday when a detailed proposal was presented by ECHA to the Commission. The legal restriction is expected to become law next year.

But following industry lobbying, the proposal has major loopholes, according to the Rethink Plastic alliance of environmental groups. Some sectors could get up to 8 years to drop microplastic, while ‘biodegradable’ microplastic that has not been shown to degrade in the environment could escape the ban. The 500,000 tonnes target will be impossible to achieve unless the proposal is improved, they calculated.

European Environmental Bureau chemicals policy officer Elise Vitali said: “Microplastic pollution is everywhere: in our drinking water, our fields, filling the air in cities and even inside our bodies. The EU is right to build on its reputation of tackling plastic pollution with this new ban. But it must avoid being sidetracked by industry-sponsored loopholes. We want a quick and broad restriction with no green light for unproven biodegradable plastic.”

Hélène Duguy, chemicals lawyer at ClientEarth, said: “The EU promised to turn off the taps on microplastic pollution. Take sport pitches – it’s a gigantic source of microplastics pollution and it’s now up to the Commission to make sure that a full ban is in order. When it comes to cosmetics – another well-known source of this pollution – the Commission needs to reject the lenient proposal that would give the cosmetics industry a free pass to continue business as usual until 2028, even where alternatives are available.”

Microplastic pollution is irreversible and causes considerable harm to the environment, with potential grave consequences for humans. EU scientific advisors have recognised that microplastics pose an unacceptable risk, which justifies a comprehensive ban.

The groups are urging the Commission to adopt a broad restriction that covers all microplastics in all sectors and uses.

The proposal is now in the hands of the Commission’s industry department, which has not always shown ambition on chemicals policy, the NGOs said. The Commission has until late May 2021 to draft the restriction text, which will then go to a vote of member state experts. The European Parliament and Council of Ministers then have three months to object, but rarely do.

EU microplastic ban just got a step closer, but has major loopholes

The European Commission has pledged to ban microplastic from cosmetics, paints, detergents, some farm, medical and other products to prevent 500,000 tonnes polluting mostly rivers and seas. The legal process moved forward on Tuesday when a detailed proposal was presented by ECHA to the Commission. The legal restriction is expected to become law next year.

But following industry lobbying, the proposal has major loopholes, according to the Rethink Plastic alliance of environmental groups. Some sectors could get up to 8 years to drop microplastic, while ‘biodegradable’ microplastic that has not been shown to degrade in the environment could escape the ban. The 500,000 tonnes target will be impossible to achieve unless the proposal is improved, they calculated.

European Environmental Bureau chemicals policy officer Elise Vitali said: “Microplastic pollution is everywhere: in our drinking water, our fields, filling the air in cities and even inside our bodies. The EU is right to build on its reputation of tackling plastic pollution with this new ban. But it must avoid being sidetracked by industry-sponsored loopholes. We want a quick and broad restriction with no green light for unproven biodegradable plastic.”

Hélène Duguy, chemicals lawyer at ClientEarth, said: “The EU promised to turn off the taps on microplastic pollution. Take sport pitches – it’s a gigantic source of microplastics pollution and it’s now up to the Commission to make sure that a full ban is in order. When it comes to cosmetics – another well-known source of this pollution – the Commission needs to reject the lenient proposal that would give the cosmetics industry a free pass to continue business as usual until 2028, even where alternatives are available.”

Microplastic pollution is irreversible and causes considerable harm to the environment, with potential grave consequences for humans. EU scientific advisors have recognised that microplastics pose an unacceptable risk, which justifies a comprehensive ban.

The groups are urging the Commission to adopt a broad restriction that covers all microplastics in all sectors and uses.

The proposal is now in the hands of the Commission’s industry department, which has not always shown ambition on chemicals policy, the NGOs said. The Commission has until late May 2021 to draft the restriction text, which will then go to a vote of member state experts. The European Parliament and Council of Ministers then have three months to object, but rarely do.

PET-to-PET significantly increases capacities for food-grade rPET

“It is also thanks to the new Starlinger pelletizing line that PET to PET is one of the most modern facilities in PET recycling worldwide. Since the foundation of the company we ensure that PET bottles in Austria are continuously recycled in a resource-saving way, contributing significantly to the circular economy in the country” comments PET to PET General Manager Christian Strasser on the capacity increase.

PET to PET Recycling Österreich GmbH recycled around 1.13 billion PET bottles (equals more than 28,200 tons of PET material) in 2020, also due to the newly installed capacities. The company was able to increase throughput by 7.3 % despite the COVID-19 pandemic with subsequent lockdowns and the price decline for virgin PET resin.

The recoSTAR PET 165 HC iV+ bottle-to-bottle recycling system is the second line from Starlinger in operation at PET to PET. It has a throughput of 1,800 kg/h and achieves excellent decontamination results. The produced regranulate can replace virgin PET at a rate of 100 %. “The high quality of the recyclate is especially important to us. The Austrian beverage industry is continually increasing the share of recycled content in new PET packaging. Some of the producers even use bottles made of 100 % secondary raw material”, Christian Strasser explains.

The solid state polycondensation in the viscoSTAR 180 SSP reactor at the end of the recycling process is decisive for decontamination. It restores the mechanical characteristics of the recycled PET and increases the intrinsic viscosity to the level of virgin material. The PET recyclate is now food-safe and can be used for food packaging such as beverage bottles. More than 50 positive EFSA opinions, the US FDA as well as numerous brand owners in the food industry confirm the extraordinary decontamination results of the Starlinger iV+ process.