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Bioplastics Association Criticizes EU’s New Circular Economy Package

european-bioplasticsThe European Commission’s newly adopted Circular Economy package is being criticized by industry and environmentalists alike.

The package includes a revised legislative proposal on waste, which includes the following key elements:

  • A common EU target for recycling 65 percent of municipal waste by 2030.
  • A common EU target for recycling 75 percent of packaging waste by 2030.
  • A binding landfill target to reduce landfill to maximum of 10 percent of all waste by 2030.
  • A ban on landfilling separately collected waste.
  • Promotion of economic instruments to discourage landfilling.
  • Simplified and improved definitions and harmonized calculation methods for recycling rates throughout the EU.
  • Concrete measures to promote reuse and stimulate industrial symbiosis.
  • Economic incentives for producers to put greener products on the market and support recovery and recycling schemes.

European Bioplastics, an association representing industrial manufacturers, processors and users of bioplastics and biodegradable polymers and their derivative products, says that while the proposal is an important step toward closing the carbon loop in Europe, it should be complemented by measures to boost the bio-economy.

“The Commission’s proposal to amend the Waste Framework Directive falls short of fully recognizing the advantages of organic waste collection for Europe,” European Bioplastics said.

Organic waste accounts for 30–45 percent of municipal waste, yet only 25 percent of the 90 million metric tons of bio-waste in Europe is collected separately and recycled in a resource-efficient and sustainable manner by composting and anaerobic digestion. With the right waste legislation in place, an additional 60 million metric tons of bio-waste could be recycled, according to the association.

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) says the package is “watered down” and lacks ambition, but is a good starting point. The EIA specifically called out the target to reduce marine waste by 30 percent by 2020, saying that it “is hardly aspirational given that…legislative proposals should deliver the 25 percent reduction without other measures that have been promised or are already under way.”

Less than 25 percent of collected plastic waste is recycled and about half ends up in landfill, EIA noted. Efforts to reduce packaging and to increase reuse and recycling can have a huge impact on the amount of waste reaching the ocean.

The European Parliament has already called for a more ambitious headline target for marine waste of 50 percent by 2025.


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