This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'DG GROW: Plastics Europe voluntary commitments'.



Ref. Ares(2018)1373834 - 13/03/2018
Ref. Ares(2018)2088812 - 19/04/2018
Personal and Confidential  
 
PlasticsEurope DRAFT (22/12/2017) 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Plastics Packaging2040 
PlasticsEurope’s Voluntary Commitment 
to increasing circularity and resource efficiency 
 
 
 


link to page 3 link to page 5 link to page 6 link to page 6 link to page 6 link to page 6 link to page 7 link to page 7 link to page 7 link to page 7 link to page 8 link to page 9 link to page 9 link to page 11 link to page 11 link to page 12 Personal and Confidential  
 
PlasticsEurope DRAFT (22/12/2017) 
 
Contents 
 
Executive Summary ........................................................................................................................... 3 
Introduction ......................................................................................................................................... 5 
Section I – General Commitments ................................................................................................. 6 
1.  Preventing Plastics Litter in the Environment ............................................................... 6 
1.1 Actions to Prevent Pellet Loss ............................................................................................. 6 
1.2 Actions to Prevent Littering .................................................................................................. 6 
2.  Improving Resource Efficiency and Accelerating Innovation to Increase 
Circularity ......................................................................................................................................... 7 
2.1 Accelerate using Alternative Feedstocks ........................................................................... 7 
2.2 Facilitate Future Resource Efficiency Gains ..................................................................... 7 
3.  Creating Global Awareness ................................................................................................. 8 
Section II – Sector Specific Commitments .................................................................................. 9 
1.  Increasing Plastics Packaging Recycling and Re-use ................................................. 9 
Section III - A Regulatory Framework for Success ................................................................. 11 
1.  EU Regulatory Support ....................................................................................................... 11 
2.  EU Funding ............................................................................................................................ 12 
 
 
 
 


Personal and Confidential  
 
PlasticsEurope DRAFT (22/12/2017) 
 
 
Executive Summary 
 
 
The European Commission aims to transform Europe into a more circular and resource 
efficient economy. PlasticsEurope fully supports this objective. 
 
It is widely recognised that plastics have a crucial role to play in delivering a more 
sustainable future. Through their unique combination of light-weight, durability and other 
intrinsic properties, plastics already contribute to emissions reduction and more efficient use 
of resources across a range of different sectors and everyday applications. As a result of 
their versatility and capacity for innovation, plastic materials are also frequently best placed 
to support breakthrough sustainable technologies. 
 
However, challenges relating to littering and end-of-life options for certain types of plastics 
waste must be addressed if the material is to achieve its fullest potential in a circular and 
resource efficient economy.  
 
It is in this spirit of commitment to future generations, PlasticsEurope has decided to set a 
series of ambitious targets and initiatives up to 2040.  
 
The Plastics Packaging2040 Voluntary Commitment focuses on preventing leakage of 
plastics into the environment, improving resource efficiency and the circularity of 
plastics packaging applications. 
 
PlasticsEurope will aim at achieving the goal of 100% re-use, recycling and or recovery 
of all plastics packaging in the EU-28, Norway and Switzerland by 2040. The overriding 
focus of this commitment is to ensure high rates of re-use and recycling with the ambition 
to reach 60% re-use and recycling of plastics packaging by 2030 and 70% in 2040.  
Ensuring the highest possible rates for recycling and re-use will require actions in the 
following areas: 
  Raw material producers will ensure that all polymers supplied to the packaging 
chain are intrinsically recyclable* 
  Increased efforts along the value chain to include eco-design aspects to deliver 
sustainable packaging solutions e.g. facilitating re-usability and recyclability 
                                                            
* Recyclable means the intrinsic properties of the polymers to be recycled 


Personal and Confidential  
 
PlasticsEurope DRAFT (22/12/2017) 
 
  Collaboration with recyclers and public authorities on the application of improved 
separate waste collection systems 
  Public and private funding 
  Investment in research and development of: 
o  enhanced waste sorting technology 
o  more effective physical recycling machinery 
o  innovative and economical chemical recycling technologies 
 
The targets for recycling and reuse of packaging in general will complement already 
established recycling programmes for specific plastics types. 
 
Another important pillar of the Plastics Packaging2040 Voluntary Commitment is a further 
increase in existing activities aimed at preventing littering that includes educational 
projects across Member States, targets to prevent pellet loss, and new research into the 
origins of the most commonly occurring plastic litter in the environment. 
 
These efforts will be complemented by additional actions to enhance the resource 
efficiency of plastics packaging and accelerate innovation aimed at boosting their 
circularity. This will involve further research into alternative feedstocks, more regular updates 
of product Life-Cycle Inventories and Environmental Product Declarations, the publication of 
extended waste data, and new eco-design guidelines for plastics packaging.  
 
PlasticsEurope will work on concrete action plans and time-based performance 
indicators against all of the above objectives by mid-2018. From 2019, an annual progress 
report will be published.  
 
General oversight of the Plastics Packaging2040 Voluntary Commitment will be provided by 
an independent committee made up of representatives of the European Commission, 
European Parliament, national and local authorities, civil society and academia.  
 
Delivering against these ambitious objectives will also depend on the commitment and 
support of policy makers at European, national and local level to ensure the implementation 
of appropriate regulatory frameworks, as well as the mobilisation of public funding. 
 
 


Personal and Confidential  
 
PlasticsEurope DRAFT (22/12/2017) 
 
Introduction 
 
 
The European Commission aims at transforming Europe into a more circular and 
resource efficient economy. PlasticsEurope fully supports this objective. 
 
It is widely recognised that plastics have a crucial role to play in delivering a more 
sustainable future. Through their unique combination of light-weight, durability and 
other intrinsic properties, plastics already contribute to emissions reduction and more 
efficient use of resources across a range of different sectors and everyday 
applications. As a result of their versatility and capacity for innovation, plastic 
materials are also invariably best placed to support breakthrough sustainable 
technologies. 
 
However, challenges relating to littering and end-of-life options for certain types of 
plastics waste - especially packaging waste - must be addressed if the material is to 
achieve its fullest potential in a circular and resource efficient economy.  
 
It is in this spirit of commitment to sustainable development, PlasticsEurope has decided to 
set a series of ambitious targets and initiatives up to 2040 that are focussed on the key 
areas of preventing leakage of plastics into the environment, improving resource efficiency 
and increasing recycling and re-use rates.  
 
With this Voluntary Commitment, PlasticsEurope is advancing the plastics industry’s role to a 
next  level  of  engagement,  recognising  that  this  transformation  will  only  take  place  through 
solutions put into reality and the regulatory support of the EU institutions. 
  
Making Circularity and Resource Efficiency a Reality 
PlasticsEurope is committed to accelerate ongoing and establish new initiatives to achieve a 
more circular and resource efficient economy. The regional scope is the EU-28 plus Norway 
and Switzerland. From 2019, an annual progress report will be published. 
 
 


Personal and Confidential  
 
PlasticsEurope DRAFT (22/12/2017) 
 
Section I – General Commitments 
 
1.  Preventing Plastics Litter in the Environment 
 
1.1 Actions to Prevent Pellet Loss 
Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) is a voluntary programme aiming towards zero pellet loss 
from the manufacture of plastic pellets and their subsequent handling, distribution and 
processing. 
 
PlasticsEurope is in the process of implementing OCS and continues working with the entire 
value chain to fully develop OCS at all levels, including transport and logistics. 
 
PlasticsEurope will establish a roadmap in 2018 and set up a transparent, harmonised 
assessment and monitoring scheme in line with EU standards to report its progress back to 
the EU institutions and key stakeholders on a yearly basis.  
 
1.2 Actions to Prevent Littering 
a)  Reduce Littering of Top Plastic Items Found in the Environment 
By 2018 the PlasticsEurope will intensify its engagement with key stakeholders to investigate 
the type of plastic items found in the European environment, and will subsequently work to 
develop and implement solutions to prevent these items from being littered. 
 
b)  Support to Educational Programmes 
PlasticsEurope will continue to work closely together with other stakeholders to develop and 
support projects aimed at raising awareness, positively enhancing knowledge levels, as well 
as the attitude and behaviour of citizens. For example, more than 30 educational related 
projects that are running in 28 member states under the flag of Marine Litter Solutions like 
Grimpola Ecomar Foundation (Spain), Recykling Rejs (Poland), CSI: Litter Challenge (UK), 
and La plastica in vacanza (Plastics on holiday) (Italy). These projects are regularly reviewed 
and updated. 
 
 
 


Personal and Confidential  
 
PlasticsEurope DRAFT (22/12/2017) 
 
2.  Improving Resource Efficiency and Accelerating Innovation to Increase Circularity 
 
2.1 Accelerate using Alternative Feedstocks 
In addition to increasing recycling in the value chain, PlasticsEurope will continue to expand 
and explore the use of CO2 and other renewable feedstocks. For example, by 2019 it will 
conduct a study on plastics in the circular economy and on increasing the use of alternative 
feedstocks.  
 
Based on this study, recommendations for actions will be formulated aiming at minimising 
environmental impacts. 
 
2.2 Facilitate Future Resource Efficiency Gains 
To utilise additional and future potential opportunities, the key activities listed below have 
been identified: 
a)   Product Life Cycle Inventory 
PlasticsEurope will regularly update and publish its Life-Cycle Inventory dataset (LCI) and 
Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) for the main plastics and recyclates on a 3-yearly 
basis. 
 
b)  Extended Waste Data 
PlasticsEurope will regularly collect and publish data to support the monitoring of the 
transition to a more circular and resource efficient economy.   
 
c)  Eco-Design Guidelines for Plastics Packaging 
PlasticsEurope will continue to support current and future activities in the development of 
eco-design guidelines for Plastics packaging and design for recycling in order to maximise 
re-use and recycling of plastics packaging. 
 
d)  Standardisation support/requirement 
PlasticsEurope will actively pursue an integrated and consistent approach to the 
standardisation of environmental aspects such as recycling, circular economy and bio-based 
materials at an international, European and national level, as well as the removal in existing 
standards of unjustified restrictions that hinder the increased use of recyclates. 
 
e)  Study of “The role of plastics in the circular economy” 
By 2019 PlasticsEurope will publish an independent third party report about “The role of 
plastics in the circular economy”.  


Personal and Confidential  
 
PlasticsEurope DRAFT (22/12/2017) 
 
This report will encompass all aspects related to the manufacturing, use and disposal of 
plastics, such as the impact of plastic materials in daily life, socio-economic aspects as well 
as environmental challenges.  
 
 
3.  Creating Global Awareness  
 
PlasticsEurope will further increase its engagement to help to deploy appropriate solutions to 
prevent marine litter and promote circularity around the world. It will strengthen its 
engagement with other international industry organisations and stakeholders like the Global 
Plastics Alliance (GPA) and the World Plastics Council (WPC) to demonstrate commitment 
and initiate global action. It will collaborate and participate in thought-leadership-dialogues 
with EC, UNEP, G7/G20, WBSCD, and others. 
 
 
 


Personal and Confidential  
 
PlasticsEurope DRAFT (22/12/2017) 
 
Section II – Sector Specific Commitments 
 
1.  Increasing Plastics Packaging Recycling and Re-use 
 
In addition to the General Commitments (s. Section I) and its involvement in a significant 
number of national initiatives, PlasticsEurope has established a number of Initiatives to bring 
forward specific commitments as the basis for developing feasible approaches and 
innovative solutions, whilst ensuring multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration along 
the value chain. These programmes will stimulate increased recycling across different plastic 
types and sectors.  
 
 
a)  Polyolefins Circular Economy Initiative 
   
An in-depth stakeholder discussion and detailed analysis of the EU polyolefins recycling 
practices is being conducted together with the plastics value chain. This will ascertain the 
level of polyolefins reuse and recycling as well as new end markets for recyclates that are 
required to meet the newly set EU plastics packaging recycling targets and the long term 
objectives expressed within PlasticsEurope’s Voluntary Commitment.   
By the end of 2018, using the results of the above analysis a roadmap will be developed that 
will identify bottlenecks to circularity and the best options to remove them.  
 
 
b)  Styrenics Circular Solutions  
 
The Polystyrene (PS) and Expandable Polystyrene (EPS) producers are actively supporting 
the development of technologies that enable the recycling of Polystyrene-based products 
back into their original applications. With a strong focus on innovation, these new 
technologies will enable the incorporation of post-consumer waste back into production 
processes, meeting most-demanding standards. By the end of 2018, the most promising 
technologies and the path forward will be assessed. 
 
The PS/EPS producers will actively collaborate with the complete value chains to further 
improve the collection and sorting systems for packaging waste. The objective is to 
considerably expand the accessible market of post-consumer PS and EPS waste.  
 


Personal and Confidential  
 
PlasticsEurope DRAFT (22/12/2017) 
 
An independent legal structure with dedicated funding will be set up, and business cases will 
be developed for the industrial scale-up of the most promising technologies. An example of 
such business case is the PSLoop cooperative that was established to build a pilot plant 
which will recycle PS/EPS construction materials. 
The EU is invited to monitor and review the progress made. 
 
 
c)  Vinyl Circular Solutions (VCS) 
 
Vinyl  Circular  Solutions  (VCS)  is  the  PVC  Packaging  Platform  of  the  European  Council  of 
Vinyl Manufacturers (ECVM). VCS actively develops and promotes the use of eco-efficient, 
cost-effective  and  safe  PVC  packaging  materials  which  ensure  that  packed  articles  have  a 
considerably increased shelf-life. At the end of their life PVC packaging can be mechanically 
recycled. 
 
The  European  Council  of  Vinyl  Manufacturers  is  a  founding  member  of  VinylPlus® 
(www.vinylplus.eu), the long established Voluntary Commitment to sustainable development 
by  the  entire  European  PVC  value  chain  (resin  manufacturers,  additives  producers  and 
converters),  and  a  benchmark  for  other  industry  initiatives.  Launched  in  2000,  VinylPlus® 
aims at strengthening the sustainability of PVC products and of the entire industry through a 
holistic  approach  including  increasing  safe  and  quality  PVC  recycling  (annual  progress 
report).  The  VinylPlus®  commitment  includes,  amongst  others,  a  target  to  recycle  800,000 
tonnes of PVC per year by 2020.  
To continue the journey started in 2000, the European PVC value chain will review in 2018 
VinylPlus®’ achievements with a view to defining, in consultation with the stakeholders, new 
ambitious recycling targets alongside a set of other concrete objectives for the next phase of 
its Voluntary Commitment towards 2030. 
 
 
 
10 

Personal and Confidential  
 
PlasticsEurope DRAFT (22/12/2017) 
 
 
Section III - A Regulatory Framework for Success  
 
1.  EU Regulatory Support 
 
In order to achieve our targets towards a more sustainable, resource efficient and 
globally competitive European Plastics Industry, EU policy support is required: 
 
  Zero Plastics to Landfill 
The landfilling of recyclable and other recoverable post-consumer waste shall be 
stopped as soon as possible in the European Union. 
 
  Internal Market 
Maintain the EU internal market legal base for the EU Packaging & Packaging Waste 
Directive and all its amending acts. 
 
  Separate Collection 
Mandatory separate collection of all packaging from residual waste by 2025. 
 
  Alignment of REACH/Waste/ CLP/ Product legislation 
Alignment of REACH, CLP and waste and product legislation to remove the 
obstacles for recycling. It includes the implementation of a risk based approach in 
order to secure the full potential of plastics recycling of longer life applications into 
controlled loops (with traceability of SVHC additives) and secure the safety of 
virgin/recycled plastics for their intended application. 
 
 
  Food Contact Regulation 
Adoption of all measures required for the full implementation of the Food Contact 
Regulation EC/282/2008. 
 
 
 
11 

Personal and Confidential  
 
PlasticsEurope DRAFT (22/12/2017) 
 
2.  EU Funding 
 
Mobilise public funding (such as Horizon 2020) to encourage and stimulate 
innovation in plastics: 

feedstock recycling  

re-use models 

low carbon footprint feedstocks 

innovation in traceability of materials, collection schemes, sorting and treatment of 
secondary raw materials. 
 
As this will establish a multi-year process of continuous improvement and learning, we invite 
to monitor and guide it with the help of a committee, comprising of members from the 
European Commission and Parliament, academia, civil society, and the PlasticsEurope. 
While providing the general oversight of the Plastics Packaging2040 Commitments, this 
advisory committee serves to complement the respective stakeholder committees of the 
individual Circular Economy and Value Chain Initiatives. 
 
 
 
 
Brussels January 2018 
 
 
 
Signatories 
 
 
 
 
  
 
President  
Chair  
Chair  
Chair 
PlasticsEurope 
ECVM  
Styrenics Circular 
Polyolefins Circular 
 
 
Solutions Steering 
Economy Initiative 
Committee 
 
 
 
 
 
12 



Personal and Confidential  
 
PlasticsEurope DRAFT (22/12/2017) 
 
 
 
PlasticsEurope is one of the leading European trade associations with 
 
centres in Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Milan and Paris. The 
 
association is networking with European and national plastics associations 
and has more than 100 member companies, producing over 90% of all 
polymers across the EU28 member states plus Norway, Switzerland and 
Turkey.  
 
www.plasticseurope.org 
 
 
 
The Styrenics Circular Solutions is a joint industry initiative to increase the 
 
circularity of polystyrene. The initiative engages the value chain in the 
Styrenics 
development and industrialization of new recycling technologies and 
Circular 
solutions. It aims to strengthen the sustainability of polystyrene products 
while improving resource efficiency within the circular economy.  
Solutions 
 
 
Contact: [email address] 
 
 
 
The European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers represents six leading 
European producers of PVC resin, which account for around 75% of the EU-
28 PVC resin production. These businesses operate around 40 different 
 
plants spread over 23 sites, and employ approximately 7,000 people.   
 
 
For additional information: www.pvc.org . 
 
 
 
Polyolefins Circular Economy Initiative 
 
[Description to be included] 
 
 
13 

Document Outline