Ref. Ares(2018)799342 - 12/02/2018
DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Consumer, Environmental and Health Technologies
Brussels, 27 June 2017
Subject: Summary Note on the Workshop on sustainable feedstock for
The workshop was attended by approximately 25 participants, representing the European
Commission, industry associations, companies (including chemical companies, plastics
convertors, consumer goods manufacturers and waste collectors), and civil society.
The Commission presented the Joint Research Centre's (JRC) work supporting the
plastics strategy, in particular on the assessment of environmental sustainability of
alternative feedstocks (including recycled plastics, biomass and CO2). JRC proposes to
use the Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) approach, as well as indicators on resource
efficiency and other sustainability impacts.
Participants expressed support for the project and acknowledged the LCA approach as
one of the elements to assess sustainability. Various technical aspects of the project were
discussed, such as the comparators and the methods used to assess circularity. Some
participants stressed the importance of giving equal consideration to both biomass and
recycled plastics. Furthermore, the availability of feedstock and the security of supply
were raised as relevant factors. LCA was also considered to be useful to identify hotspots
where the sustainability impacts are expected to be the most significant.
On the diversification of feedstock, participants discussed the trade-offs between the
different alternative feedstocks. Some participants advocated focusing more on novel
technologies for bio-based feedstocks, while others underlined the importance of
recycling as a widely applicable solution. In response, some participants advocated
material-neutral performance-driven solutions. Others stressed the importance of waste
prevention, which is technology-neutral, thereby avoiding a lock-in effect for certain
Various recommendations were raised and discussed, including improving the
collection/sorting of plastic waste, setting recycling targets, green public procurement
and improving extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes. Some participants also
underlined the importance of investing in new technologies, such as chemical recycling.
Better consumer information (e.g. through labelling) and the use of Ecodesign were also
raised. Furthermore, participants suggested incentivising environmental performance
based on a limited set of criteria. In addition, it was reminded that plastics often replace
other materials that may be much less sustainable, underlining the need for a
comprehensive LCA approach.