By 2021, there will a law imposed and approved by the European Parliament banning all single-use plastic in the EU. Known as the ‘Single-Use Plastics Directive‘, this will place more responsibility and pressure for plastic producers, including new recycling targets for EU member states.
Viewed as a “step towards establishing a circular economy in which the design and production of plastics and plastic products fully respect reuse, repair and recycling needs and in which more sustainable materials are developed and promoted”. The law promotes a circular economy and correlates to sustainable development goal (SDG) 12 which works ‘ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns’, requiring development of sustainable, non-toxic reusable products and systems. As a wider aim, this works towards SDG 14 working to prevent and reduce marine pollution and plastic debris.
The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), introduced the UK Plastics Pact, in 2018, a word-leading initiative with other countries following similar pacts across the globe. Targets in the Pact are a strong driver to increase the recycling of plastic packaging and create more sustainable end markets for plastic packaging.
With the detrimental impacts of plastic high on a global agenda, companies are turning to bio-based alternatives which are often bio compostable. Some are more straight-forward including:
- Higher recovery of plastic before being disregarded to landfills/ mixed waste skips
- Reusing packaging – talk with your supplier to see if they can reduce the packaging or if they are able to take it back to reuse
- Bulk buy materials covered in plastic to potentially reduce the volume of packaging per item
- Use large sheets of plastic sheeting that arrived as wrapping for use on site as weather protection
- When plastic packaging can’t be recycled, sent it to a licensed Waste Management Contractor