Following up its report of 2016, The Ellen MacArthur Foundation recently published its latest report on the new plastics economy, “The New Plastics Economy – Catalysing Action”. It presents a clearly defined action plan for the goals outlined in 2016: an effective after-use plastics economy, the reduction of plastics leakage into the environment and the decoupling from fossil feedstocks.
The catalysing actions appear to be very ambitious and are in line with the plastics converting industry’s visions. Converters share both the report's intention and ambition to enhance circularity of their products and ensure the waste hierarchy is fully respected by involving all relevant stakeholders. At the same time, packaging serves an important purpose in preserving goods and guaranteeing safe transport. A true Global Plastics Protocol can be challenging at a time of protective national measures and lack of harmonisation even in the colours of waste bins within the European Union.
The European Plastics Converters (EuPC) Association, representing over 50.000 plastics converting companies in Europe, acknowledges that some polymers need special attention. Yet, it might be improper to define certain packaging materials as “uncommon”. The same rationale, i.e. the lack of economic viability of small volumes for recycling, can well apply to biodegradable plastics which can contaminate the traditional plastics recycling stream in a similar way.
Alexandre Dangis, Managing Director of EuPC: “We acknowledge the report’s emphasis on the need to further unlock the potential of reusing and recycling plastic packaging in Europe, while ensuring our main priority, the safety and health of the consumer, as well as working on the educational aspects for future generations currently missing”.
EuPC looks forward to closely collaborating both with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and trade and consumer associations to foster an informed education on waste, which should be the main priority for concrete actions and remind us of the key role all of us play in creating a true circular economy.