25 July 2018

Spain Forges Ahead With Charges On Light Plastic Carrier Bags

As of 1 July 2018, businesses in Spain are now required by law to charge between 5 and 15 euro cents per light plastic carrier bag used by consumers, in a move designed to reduce the country’s generation of plastic waste and raise awareness of the considerable challenge which plastics pose to society.

The news this month that Spain has implemented a ban on the free distribution of light plastic carrier bags has been welcomed across Europe, as Spain forges ahead with a series of short-term and longer-term proposals to alleviate the burden of single-use plastics and plastic pollution in general.

Confirmed by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and Environment, from 1 July 2018, Spanish shops have been required to charge clients between 5 and 15 euro cents per light plastic bag (with the charge depending on the weight of the bag).

It should be noted that ultra-light plastic bags and thicker, recyclable bags are exempt from this charge, although according to Spanish consumer organisation and CIRC-PACK partner OCU, a total ban on light and ultra- light bags that are not compostable will come into force in January of 2021.

In a press communiqué, the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment said: “This is a first step towards freeing our environment of plastic waste and towards raising awareness among consumers of the need to reduce our use of plastic bags.”

The Ministry said that steps were being taken at a national level to raise levels of recycling and re-use, as well as to promote the generation of "quality recycled plastic”.

The new legislation is just the first step in Spain’s roadmap for plastics set out under the draft Spanish Circular Economy Strategy.

According to OCU, there are three broad categories of plastic bags in circulation:

Ultra-light bags (under 15 microns thick) are used for fresh or bulk produce such as fruit, meat or fish (and are exempt from charges under the current system); light plastic bags (up to 50 microns thick) which are now subject to charges in shops and businesses, and; the thicker plastic bags of more than 50 microns.

Come 2021, the ban on ultra-light and light plastic bags which aren’t compostable will place Spain among the leading economies in Europe for plastics legislation.

In Europe, of the 27 million tones of plastic waste produced each year, only around 9 million tones are recycled. Moreover, according to CIRC-PACK partner CIRCE, some 89% of plastic bags are only used once and in any case, typically take between 100 and 500 years to decompose – a burden on both society and the environment.

16 July 2018

European Sustainable Plastics Congress Gets The Latest On CIRC-PACK

The CIRC-PACK project was featured for an international audience this month, at the first European Sustainable Plastics Congress in Lyon, France. Organised by France’s Plastipolis on 5 July 2018, the congress heard firsthand how CIRC-PACK innovations are shaping up.

CIRC-PACK’s innovative waste to resource approach was featured for an international scientific and industry audience in Lyon, France, at a new plastics congress organised by Plastipolis.

Held in partnership with the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, the Lyon event was the first of its kind, and is set to focus on European sustainable plastics for the foreseeable future.

The CIRC-PACK project was presented by David Zambrana of CIRCE, as he focused on a new circular economy for the plastic packaging sector. Further presentations on CIRC-PACK were made by Alessandro d’Elicio of Italy’s Novamont and Ana Mafalda Gomes of Bumaga in the Netherlands. Here the congress heard firsthand the concepts behind CIRC-PACK’s first two ‘demo cases’: producing plastics from renewable resources, and eco-friendly packaging designs.

More news on CIRC-PACK is available on this website and via Twitter @circ_economy.

1 June 2018

The CIRC-PACK Consortium Hosted by Novamont in Novara, Italy

On 23-24 May 2018, the CIRC-PACK project consortium held a general partner meeting in Novara, Italy. The group gathered at the research lab of project partner Novamont to drive forward the CIRC-PACK project and continue the momentum built up during the first year of the initiative, as well as undertaking a research visit of the Novamont facilities.

For a Horizon 2020 project such as CIRC-PACK, partner meetings offer an excellent opportunity to consolidate work conducted by the partners and align future objectives among the project “work packages”. However, this visit to Novara also provided invaluable insights into Novamont’s research and development in the fields of bio-based plastics and biodegradable plastics for a range of products for end users.

The site visit allowed all CIRC-PACK partners to see firsthand the cutting edge developments which can contribute to a circular economy for plastic packaging in the future!

16 April 2018

Waste To Resource: CIRC-PACK In Brussels For Circular Economy Conference

On 11 April 2018, the CIRC-PACK consortium met a host of circular economy stakeholders in Brussels, Belgium, to effectively launch the CIRC-PACK project in the heart of Europe. The conference and stakeholder event ‘Waste to resource: a new circular economy for the plastic packaging sector’ gathered more than 30 consortium members, business figures, civil society professionals and representatives of municipalities and the European institutions.

The CIRC-PACK consortium ostensibly launched its ambitious project to the public during a key event in the heart of Europe on 11 April. The conference and focus groups sessions, organised by project partner Plastipolis in collaboration with project co-ordinator CIRCE, were a vital opportunity to gather key stakeholders from around Europe and present the ambitious objectives of the PlastiCircle project.

The CIRC-PACK Horizon 2020 project, working towards circular economy in the plastic packaging value chain, comprises a 22-member consortium of expert organisations from across Europe. With objectives such as decoupling plastics from fossil fuels, and producing smart, innovative “eco-design” packaging products, it is hoped that the project will achieve better collection and recycling of more complex packaging products – in itself a key component of circular economy in the plastics sector.

In Brussels, CIRC-PACK welcomed a wide range of stakeholders eager to hear about the project aims and deliverables – notably the three “demo cases” which CIRC-PACK has in store: first, producing plastics from renewable resources; second, producing eco-friendly packaging designs; third, enhancing the quality of sorting and recycling to effectively “close the loop” for plastics.

But the 11 April event also included targeted focus groups for expert stakeholders to feed back into CIRC-PACK’s planning and objectives. Held in parallel, CIRC-PACK moderators OCU, RINA Consulting and ICLEI Europe gathered key questions and discussions concerning consumers, business and public authorities respectively.