The EU’s next Cohesion Fund for regional development should prioritise investments into waste management systems focused on prevention, re-use, separate collection and recycling – not on incineration, argues Janek Vahk.
The time has come for the European Parliament’s last opportunity to take concrete action before handing over the reins to the EU’s successors: making it mandatory to produce plastic bottles with at least 25% of recycled plastics by 2025.
Plastics in our sewer system costs consumers money and the European water sector has its daily challenges, one of them being sewers getting clogged regularly by plastics and wet wipes, explain Oliver Loebel and Maxime Bineau.
No environmental tax has ever been approved at EU level, given the need for unanimity in the Council. But if a plastic tax were successfully passed, would such a measure really help to set the EU on the path to curbing plastic pollution?
The function of food packaging has traditionally been limited to passive protection from external influences, but innovations are quickly changing its role. Packaging is getting active and intelligent, able to monitor and interact with food and environment and maintain food freshness for longer, writes Dr Milka Sokolović.
The CO2 emissions reductions achieved by plastic recycling is very costly when compared to alternatives like wind energy and solar PV, while much energy can be extracted from burning plastic waste, argue Raymond Gradus and Henriëtte Prast.
Five countries at the last G7 summit in Canada signed a Plastics Charter, recognising the need to speed up global action on marine plastics pollution. An IPCC-type framework is now needed to address the issue, writes Dr. Erik van Sebille.
In light of the challenges that countries are facing due to China’s new standards on plastic recyclables imports, some controversial disposal methods have been getting increased attention, despite the myriad of concerns surrounding them, write Claire Arkin and Janek Vahk.
A lot more must be done to incentivise everyday product recyclability, writes Ward Mosmuller. Bulky products that are not recycled today – like carpets, mattresses and furniture – would be a good place to start, he argues.
A European strategy for bio-economy should take the structural differences of different member states into account while also promoting and reinforcing a common vision for the sector, write Carina Håkansson and Mårten Larsson.
The EU Council’s position on the recast Renewable Energy Directive (REDII), if adopted, could lock EU member states into expensive and polluting waste-to-energy technologies that contradict the circular economy and climate objectives, writes Janek Vahk.
During the recent meeting of the World Trade Organisation Council for Trade in Goods, some representatives raised concerns about China’s ban on “foreign garbage” import. Some even asked China to halt its implementation. Zhang Ming explains China's position.
If we want to reduce the use of natural resources and energy in absolute terms, a sufficiency strategy is needed to complement the eco-efficiency and circular economy approaches, write Riccardo Mastini and Leida Rijnhout.
Barely six years old, the EU’s Bioeonomy Strategy, currently under revision, is slowly but surely propagating green shoots of sustainable economic recovery in innumerable and unexpected ways, writes Joanna Dupont.
There is no evidence that deep-sea mining will reduce our dependency on land-based mining. We need to end business as usual and act to reduce the demand for these raw materials by making the transition towards a circular economy, write a group of Greens/EFA MEPs.
Without oversight, the implementation of the circular economy package entails a huge risk of Member States going into different directions and introducing barriers to the internal market, warns Virginia Janssens.
Now that the European Commission has finally published its Plastics Strategy, the EU institutions should take inspiration from the best practices out there to make the upcoming legislation on single-use plastics work for citizens, the planet and the economy.
To date, the Renewable Energy Directive has been a key obstacle to achieving waste policy objectives. If the EU is serious about the transition towards a circular economy, it is crucial that incentive schemes for renewables encourage separate collection and recycling, writes Janek Vahk.
Plastic is everywhere, polluting our waters, choking marine wildlife, and even in our food and water. It is a problem of global proportions but an ambitious EU Plastics Strategy can create vital momentum, writes Pierre-Yves Cousteau.
The EU’s Circular Economy Package is delivering some important progress on supporting business resource efficiency. But the circular economy will need to remain top of the agenda for many years to come if the EU is to see a step change in resource productivity, argues Nick Molho.
A tax or ban on plastics won't solve pollution problems, but it would deprive the world od a cheap and valuable material. The solution is to make it biodegradable and recyclable, writes Michael Stephen.