Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 30

sustainability
continued from page 29
Single-Use Plastics directive, or
simply the SUP law.
Far from demonising plastics,
the SUP Directive acknowledges
these materials' important
role in everyday life. This success
is thanks to their sheer
versatility and breadth of application,
together with low cost
and high performance. But as is
all too evident today, there is a
dark side to this success, which
this directive aims to address.
What are single-use
plastic products?
For a directive like this one to
work, first, the term 'single-use
plastic product' must be adequately
defined.
A single-use plastic product
refers to a product that 'is made
wholly or partly from plastic and
that is not conceived, designed or
placed on the market to accomplish,
within its life span, multiple
trips or rotations by being returned
to a producer for refill or
re-used for the same purpose for
which it was conceived,' according
to the new directive. In other
words, single-use plastic products
are designed to be used once or
for a very short period, after which
they can be disposed of.
Prime examples are the articles
on the list of banned products
explicitly stated in the directive.
These include cotton
bud sticks, straws, plastic cutlery,
plates, EPS food containers and
beverage cups plus their covers
and lids, balloon sticks and beverage
stirrers. The consumption
of single-use plastic products
made from single-use paper- or
board-based products with a
plastic coating or lining must be
'measurably' reduced by 2026.
Interestingly, when it comes
to the materials used to make
these products, in the directive,
no distinction is made between
plastics based on biomass and
conventional oil-based materials.
The directive has adopted
the viewpoint that 'plastics
manufactured with modified
natural polymers, or plastics
manufactured from bio-based,
fossil or synthetic starting substances
are not naturally occurring'
and thus fall under this
directive. Commission guidance
on this aspect offers a further
30
What the market is saying:
" The EU Single-Use Plastics Directive is designed to meaningfully
reduce single-use plastic waste across member states in a comprehensive
manner, " said Wolfgang Ringel, Senior Vice President
Governmental Affairs, at resource sustainability company TOMRA.
" The legislation accelerates a shift in mindsets from governments,
businesses and consumers on how society approaches
single-use plastic, ensuring more material stays within a
closed loop and out of the oceans and environment. When
historians look back, the passage of the Single-Use Plastics
Directive may be seen as the moment when society finally
turned the tide on plastic waste and tipped the scales in favour
of a circular economy. "
" Single-use plastic is causing significant harm to our environment, "
said Tom van Aken, CEO, Avantium. " Not only does
it lead to the accumulation of harmful micro plastic in our ecosystem,
but it also to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions.
COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented uptake in single-use
items, especially for medical purposes, which the industry is
using to exploit people's fears around sanitation and hygiene
to interfere with legislation.
The Single-Use Plastic (SUP) Directive is certainly a step in
the right direction to help eliminate plastic waste. In addition to
banning certain single-use
plastics, the directive outlines
targets for plastic recycling too.
Having products that can be
reused multiple times until the
end of its lifecycle, after which
it can be recycled, means that
there will be an overall reduction
of demand for materials, as
well as plastic leaking into the
environment.
Tom van Aken
clarification of what is meant
by the terms natural polymer
and naturally occurring substances.
While the two terms
seem almost interchangeable,
the distinction drawn by the
Commission between the two
has far-reaching consequences.
According to this directive,
the concept of natural polymer
refers to a broader group that is
independent of the method used
to extract the substance from
nature. This means, for example,
that cellulose and lignin extracted
from wood and corn starch
obtained via wet milling meet
the definition of natural polymer.
By contrast, PHA, a biopolymer
produced and stored in the
cells of microbes, does not. And
it is here that the definitions devised
by the European authorities
become murky.
The guidelines offer the following
clarification: 'Based on
the REACH Regulation and the
related ECHA Guidance, polymers
produced via an industrial
fermentation process are not
considered natural polymers
August/September 2021
since polymerisation has not
taken place in nature. Therefore,
polymers resulting from
biosynthesis through manmade
cultivation and fermentation
processes in industrial
settings, for example, polyhydroxyalkanoates
(PHA), are not
considered natural polymers
as not being the result of a polymerisation
process that has
taken place in nature. In general,
if a polymer is obtained from
an industrial process and the
same type of polymer happens
to exist in nature, the manufactured
polymer does not qualify
as a natural polymer.'
The guidelines offer the example
of wet wipes: wet wipes,
which are made using non-natural
polymers or natural polymers
that have been chemically
modified, like polyester and
PHA, fall within the scope of
the directive. Wet wipes made
entirely from natural polymers
that have not been chemically
modified, like viscose and lyocell,
fall outside the scope of
the directive.
What's next?
The scope of the directive, as
noted above, is not limited to
an immediate ban on the group
of specified products. Among
others, it also calls for reductions
in and the monitoring of
the consumption of certain single-use
plastics for which there
is no alternative. A sustained
quantitative reduction in consumption
of these products,
compared to a 2022 baseline,
is required by 2026.
Plastic bottles are also addressed:
a collection target
has been set of 90% recycling
for plastic bottles by 2029,with
an interim target of 77% by
2025. Moreover, PET bottles
must be made of at least
25% recycled pet by 2025;
all bottles must have a recycled
content of 30% by 2030.
New rules will also apply in respect
of compulsory markings
on packaging or on certain
specified products, that clearly
state both that these products
contain plastics and how these
should be disposed of. These
products include sanitary items,
wet wipes, tobacco products
with filters and drinking cups.
Extended producer responsibility
- EPR - schemes covering
the costs of collection, transport
and treatment, data-gathering,
litter clean-ups and awareness-raising
measures for other
single-use plastic items such
as food containers, wrappers,
beverage containers and lightweight
plastic carrier bags will be
introduced: paying into the EPR
scheme will come as a new expense
across the 27 EU member
states. EPR schemes will also be
required for fishing gear.
Lastly, the directive emphasises
the need for awareness
raising: the need to educate consumers;
to encourage responsible
consumer behaviour; to make
consumers aware of reusable
alternative products and the impact
of inappropriate disposal of
single-use plastic waste on the
sewage system.
The market restrictions and
marking of product rules apply
from 3 July 2021, while the product
design requirements for bottles
apply from 3 July 2024. The
extended producer responsibility
measures apply from 31 December
2024.

Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021

Contents
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - Cover1
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - Cover2
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - Contents
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 4
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 5
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 6
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 7
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 8
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 9
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 10
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 11
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 12
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 13
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 14
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 15
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 16
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 17
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 18
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 19
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 20
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 21
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 22
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 23
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 24
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 25
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 26
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 27
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 28
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 29
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 30
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 31
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 32
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 33
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - 34
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - Cover3
Sustainable Plastics - August/September 2021 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com