Report Offers “Use-Based” Approach To Plastic Waste

Date Published: Wednesday 18th July 2018

A report launched recently by the Resourcing the Future conference (RTF) partners (CIWM, ESA, the Resource Association and WRAP) has developed a novel “use-phase” model to categorise plastic products and looks at targeted actions based on the different environmental impacts of each category. 

Entitled ‘Eliminating avoidable plastic waste by 2042: a use-based approach to decision and policy making, the report suggests this approach  also helps “clarify” how these can be set within a holistic policy framework, the RTF partners say.

In assessing the complexity of the landscape to define the most effective ways of tackling plastic waste, including improving domestic market demand for secondary plastics, the overarching messages from the research include: 

  • Eliminating avoidable plastics waste will require a series of interventions throughout the supply chain that both incentivise sustainable design and production choices, and stimulate demand for secondary plastics. In this context, Extended Producer Responsibility has significant potential to be developed into a more holistic framework for improving the value proposition to underpin the additional reprocessing capacity, market uptake, and consumer communications that are needed to close the loop on plastics 
  • A much clearer roadmap for bioplastics is also critical – these materials have significant potential to provide solutions in some areas but unchecked could also have a significant detrimental impact on current plastics recycling. Their potential needs to be clearly mapped and articulated to allow informed decision-making and reduce confusion about their properties and environmental performance. 
  • There also needs to be a renewed focus on non-packaging plastics. Packaging waste dominates the current debate because of its visible impact on the landscape and oceans. In terms of developing a long term framework to eliminate all avoidable plastics waste, however, interventions will be needed across the plastics spectrum. 

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