EU Plastic’s Strategy impact on standardisation

ECOS welcomes the European Commission’s Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy. The Strategy rightly acknowledges the growing problem related to increased plastic waste generation and plastic leakage into the environment. It also sets clear objectives for plastics and plastic products to be designed for greater durability, reuse and high-quality recycling to limit demand for primary plastic production.

As many of the proposed actions target improved plastics recycling, it is important to make sure recycling methods and rates are measured accurately and do not create adverse effects on efforts which attempt to limit overall plastics production and consumption. Furthermore, the Plastics Strategy places high hopes in voluntary commitments from the plastics industry and while such industry pledges are very helpful, they should not replace regulatory action.

The Plastics Strategy will result in several standardisation activities that greatly influence the overall use of plastics. We anticipate several things:

  • Plastic packaging: new harmonised standards (which set the minimum conformity levels of laws across EU-28) will be made to ensure all plastic packaging is reusable or recyclable by 2030.
  • Biodegradable and compostable plastics will be labelled through new harmonised rules. This will clarify their exact properties and behaviour in the environment and prevent greenwashing and inaccurate claims.
  • Recycled plastic content in productswill be promoted through standards for sorted plastic waste and recycled plastics
  • Ecodesign will take more steps to set laws on how products containing plastic should be designed, and not just their energy consumption.

ECOS is pleased with these developments as they have the potential to bring positive change to the environment. ECOS will continue to work hard to represent the environmental voice in the development of these standards to ensure they compliment the Plastic Strategy as well as possible.