Pre-Publication Project Environment

Plastics in a Circular Economy

This major study was launched in November 2018 at the Bucharest Council meeting. The underlying theme is to examine the current major problem of leakage into the environment of plastics from the linear economy, identify the system failures and contributory factors, and provide some useful insights into policy tools which might overcome some of the systemic failures. Within the EU, the policy debate is already focusing on single use plastics of which packaging is a primary component, and it is intended to take a systems-level approach in which the contributing sciences include design for recycling, industrial use requirements, consumer behaviour, economic incentives as well as technologies for recycle.  

Areas where EASAC may be able to call on original scientific inputs include:

  • materials (including the idealised objective of materials which are less harmful when leaking into the environment, or easily recycled)
  • consumer behaviour (in order to propose policy options which have a higher likelihood of success)
  • extended producer responsibility - EPR (identifying schemes which encourage a virtuous circle of improved design and improved recyclability)
  • technological improvements in the recycling process and use of recycled materials to increase the value of recycled material.

An expert group has been established and already met and in April and September 2019. The report is an advanced stage and it is hoped to release it by the end of 2019.

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