The RepescaPlas closed its third year with the collection of 4.2 tonnes of marine litter and excellent results in terms of recovery of this litter through chemical recycling. The project has now entered its fourth phase, in which it is expected to strengthen the industrial-scale management and treatment of marine litter.
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Plastics, Polymers and Rubber
The report on Sustainable Plastics Strategy was prepared by the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem) and its partners: Cefic, PlasticsEurope, European Plastics Converters (EuPC) and the European Composites, Plastics and Polymer Processing Platform (ECP4).
One of the keys to tackling plastic waste is the creation of a circular economy. However, the circular economy for plastics is not just about waste. Eliminating leakage and stepping up the use of secondary materials may be part of the picture, but the transition to renewable inputs completes it.
This report outlines the future research needed to fulfil the objectives of the European Strategy for Plastics and the Green Deal priorities.
Convert works to support UN Sustainable Development Goal 12: ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns. It explores how natural sustainable resources can be used to make new products and seeks to reduce the amount of waste on earth through recycling and upcycling. Every fibre matters when waste fibres are used as non-woven material.
CICERONE is a group of European programme owners, researchers and businesses seeking to build a platform for an efficient circular economy. Its report Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) on Circular Economy aims to help owners and funders of European circular economy programmes adopt a systemic approach to circular economy transition.
The SRIA was developed based on eight priority themes (biomass and biotechnologies, chemicals, construction and demolition, food, plastic, raw materials, waste and water) and builds on four societal areas that face sustainability challenges (urban areas, industrial systems, value chains and territory and sea) to identify priority areas to tackle EU region-wide issues and facilitate the circular economy transition.
Plastic-based — or ‘synthetic’— textiles are woven into our daily lives in Europe. They are in the clothes we wear, the towels we use and the bed sheets we sleep in. They are in the carpets, curtains and cushions we decorate our homes and offices with. And they are in safety belts, car tyres, workwear and sportswear. Synthetic textile fibres are produced from fossil fuel resources, such as oil and natural gas. Their production and consumption and handling the related waste generate greenhouse gas emissions, use non-renewable resources and can release microplastics.
This briefing provides an overview of the synthetic textile economy in Europe, analyses environmental and climate impacts, and highlights the potential for developing a circular economy value chain.
The RECITURF project is developing new methods for recycling artificial turf so that it does not end up in landfills. New artificial turf can be manufactured using the different plastics recovered from waste turf.
Zero Waste Europe is the European network of communities, local leaders, experts, and change agents working towards the elimination of waste in our society.
Zero Waste Europe advocates for sustainable systems and the redesign of our relationship with resources to accelerate a just transition towards zero waste for the benefit of people and planet.
Recovery from the Covid-19 crisis presents an important and unique opportunity for the EU to accelerate its transition towards a climate-neutral and circular economy. While there is little dispute about the opportunities offered by the funds available for the low-carbon and circular economy, the longer-term impact on Europe’s decarbonisation trajectory will depend on the choices made in the National Recovery and Resilience Plans and on how the overall policy framework is adapted.
After describing the EU recovery plan, this paper discusses various policy instruments – both new and existing – to create demand for circular materials and lower-carbon products, illustrated by examples of four resource and carbon-intensive sectors, namely construction, steel, textiles and plastics.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation develops and promotes the idea of a circular economy. It works with, and inspires, business, academia, policymakers, and institutions to mobilise systems solutions at scale, globally.
Its vision is a new economic system that delivers better outcomes for people and the environment. Business models, products, and materials are designed to increase use and reuse, replicating the balance of the natural world, where nothing becomes waste and everything has value.
A circular economy, increasingly built on renewable energy and materials, is distributed, diverse, and inclusive. The Foundation’s work focuses on six interlinking areas:
- Institutions, Governments and Cities
- Insight and Analysis
- Systemic Initiatives
The European REFUCOAT project developed innovative, efficient, bioplastic food packaging production processes using renewable, recyclable materials which could replace conventional fossil fuel-based raw materials. Three different bio-based active packaging systems were developed.
Post consumer High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) products are bought back, disassembled after cleaning and sanitation process, and then shredded by Jcoplastic. The secondary raw material obtained is analysed and characterised, then extruded for reusing in a new production cycle.
How to stop plastics ending up in the ocean? The Rethinking Plastics – Circular Economy Solutions to Marine Litter project is working on solutions together with seven countries in East and South East Asia.
The study sheds light on the background of the prevention of plastic waste from packaging and disposable products by explaining the need for action, the environmental impacts and risks to human health.
Experiences of the members of the PREVENT Waste Alliance and their partners in the prevention of plastic waste by multi-actor partnerships are presented by means of 17 best practice examples.
Finally, the study gives recommendations for the reduction of plastic waste and the further work of the PREVENT Waste Alliance. These include success factors for waste prevention, necessary next steps and conclusions regarding the necessary political framework conditions.
The Life-REPOLYUSE project is about REcovery of POLYurethane for reUSE in eco-efficient materials. It tries to solve the environmental challenge of the scarcity of resources and waste management in order to mitigate the effects of climate change. It addresses the problem of polyurethane plastic waste using innovative techniques.
The Großes Walsertal region has developed a Circular Economy Strategy: it has set itself the objective of introducing circularity at every stage of the value chain, from production to consumption, repair and waste management. Smart product design and increased recycling and reuse activities will contribute to gradually close the loop of each product life-cycle in the region.
The Großes Walsertal communities act as role models by sharing tools, offering vouchers for local food stores (as part of the leisure activities funding) and implementing binding green criteria for events organised on their territory.
PlasticFreER is the Plan approved by the Emilia Romagna region (IT) Executive in 2019 for a shared strategy with public bodies, businesses, trade unions, associations and the scientific community to free offices, canteens, festivals and parties from disposable plastic and clean up public spaces, rivers, sea and beaches.
- A common path in 15 actions for an increasingly circular and sustainable economy.
- Reconvert, reduce and clean up: three pillars of the rule approved by the regional government which translate into support, with funds and incentives, for the conversion of companies producing plastic - particularly single-use.
- Aid to public bodies and private individuals who decide to reduce their use and a special cleaning project to remove waste from the beds of waterways/sea.
The Circular Plastics Alliance aims to boost the EU market for recycled plastics to 10 million tonnes by 2025. The alliance covers the full plastics value chains and includes over 175 organisations representing industry, academia and public authorities. New stakeholders can join the alliance by signing its declaration.
Join a series of livestream events to understand better how the private sector can help accelerate the world’s transition toward a regenerative and circular economy. The webinar on 16 November 2020 will be on Circular Economy & Emerging Technologies.
PET is currently the only plastic that can be 100 % recycled. Food grade PET is the key to plastic waste recycling. No other plastics are permitted for reuse in the production of new food packaging.
This report describes innovation competition as a method of tackling major environmental challenges, specifically how to provide food sustainably and resource-efficiently in the future.
Two teams with expertise in plastics, logistics and sustainability developed solutions focused on a more regional food supply enabling us to reduce the amount of plastic, packaging and transport used. The winning submission is a conversion tool describing the principles of sustainable production and consumption of food.
PU foam pressurised containers are used to fill gaps and to insulate and install window and door frames so as to make buildings airtight. OCF (one-component foam) producers have invested in a recycling company which recycles the metals in the packaging material, the reactive residual polyurethane prepolymer and the propellant.
In its position paper, Eurocities aims at contributing to the revision of the EU legislation on packaging and packaging waste by making proposals on:
- packaging design (to facilitate separate sorting by citizens, and further dismantling for reuse or recycling, i.e. less complexity in packaging materials)
- compostable/biodegradable plastic packaging (citizens cannot distinguish between biodegradable/compostable and more ‘conventional’ ones; the Commission should assess if this packaging can benefit the environment or create more littering and hamper waste collection, reuse and recycling)
- reuse and recycling (new legislation should consider EU-wide mandatory labelling to identify packaging as reusable, recyclable or compostable) and
- extending the EPR schemes.
The Circular Plastics Alliance (CPA) is an open platform for public and private actors in the European plastics value chain that want to help increase the EU market for recycled plastics to 10 million tonnes by 2025.
Companies and business associations are encouraged to submit their voluntary pledge here. Voluntary pledges consist of a quantity of recycled polymer(s) to be produced or used by your organisation by 2025. The CPA is an initiative under the European Strategy for Plastics. 240 signatories work together to implement the content of the CPA declaration. For more information, you can watch the CPA video or visit the EU Commission website.
The Circular Economy for Flexible Packaging (CEFLEX) initiative is a collaboration of over 160 European companies, associations and organisations representing the entire value chain of flexible packaging. CEFLEX wants all flexible packaging to be designed for easy collection, sorting and recycling, with valuable new markets and applications created for the recycled materials.
CEFLEX stakeholders represent the full value chain including: raw material producers (plastics, paper and aluminium foil), ink, coating and adhesive suppliers, film producers and flexible packaging converters, brand owners, waste management companies, recyclers, extended producer responsibility organisations and technology suppliers.