Waste green paper highlights concerns

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Fresh controls on the manufacturing of plastics in the EU are under consideration as a result of comments submitted to the European Commission’s green paper on plastic waste. Brussels says there have been more than 270 responses since its March publication, from industry, environmentalists, parliaments and environment ministries.

Speaking at a Brussels conference on plastics waste, EU environment commissioner Janez Potocnik said comments showed there was “strong support for promoting mono-materials and improved plastic design in order to increase recyclability”. He also noted that “many respondents believe that restrictions in the use of additives are needed”, or more information provided through safety data sheets or public databases on plastic chemical content. “Moreover, current legislation is felt to not sufficiently address the risks arising from the use of micro-plastics in products,” he noted.

The commissioner said there were split views about biodegradable and bio-based plastics, with a majority saying they should be promoted only on “a case by case basis and under properly defined conditions”, with clear legal distinctions between naturally compostable and technically biodegradable plastics. Respondents also called for more consumer information on plastic recyclability and better waste sorting and collection, including a landfill ban for plastics and an EU-wide reduction target for marine litter.

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