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Definition and development of functional barriers for the use of recycled materials in multilayer food packaging

TECHNOLOGICAL WATCH

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Global environmental initiatives presented at PlasticsEurope's "PolyTalk" conference in Malta / EU commissioner Vella stresses importance of partnering with plastic industry / Need for better recycling quality

Global environmental initiatives presented at PlasticsEurope's "PolyTalk" conference in Malta / EU commissioner Vella stresses importance of partnering with plastic industry / Need for better recycling qualityKarl-H. Foerster speaking at "PolyTalk 2018" in Malta (Photo: PlasticsEurope)The terrible images of marine pollution caused by unchecked waste disposal ? known as "marine littering" ? are being addressed by many initiatives around the globe. Be it public bodies, NGOs or industry, PlasticsEurope's (Brussels / Belgium; www.plasticseurope.org) "PolyTalk 2018" conference in Malta (home country of EU commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella) on 25 and 26 April showed an impressive array of approaches. The "Marine Litter Solutions" initiative provides an overview in the latest progress report from the "Global Plastics Alliance" (see Plasteurope.com of 23.04.2018)."No stakeholder, no country, no international organisation can tackle the problem alone"In his talk, Vella stressed that marine litter is a global problem of enormous dimensions, with a variety of actors involved in both generating marine litter and finding a solution. "We are far from knowing or even understanding everything; but we know more than enough to take action. Every day there seems to be a new story on plastics. The impact on the food chain, the weight of plastic that is now in the ocean. The number and size of each plastic island or gyre. The plastic-eating enzymes. Every day a new story." For a sustainable future, the European commssioner said the industry has to improve the economics and quality of plastics recycling. Concerning single-use plastics, Vella said the European Commssion is now working on a legislative proposal for the items most frequently found on beaches and used for fishing, with adoption by the commission foreseen in summer 2018.

Whether in India, Africa, the US, northern Europe, the Philippines or the Mediterranean region, things are moving along, although it is clear there is no silver bullet for marine litter. On the first day, more than 20 experts reported on approaches to fundamental scientific research, clean-up and prevention measures as well as regulatory policies. It became clear that one of the core tasks is to improve waste collection and sorting systems ? around 80% of plastics waste collected in the sea comes from land. Ahead of PolyTalk, two attending scientists and speakers, François Galgani (see Plasteurope.com of 18.04.2018) and Richard Thompson (see Plasteurope.com of 19.04.2018), gave their expert opinions on the current state of the marine litter problem.

In Europe, the public sector is a relative pioneer with the EU's plastics strategy within the context of the circular economy. Many countries around the world are also looking at European actions for inspiration. In addition to a speech by Vella, the second day comprised industry approaches such as the "Operation Clean Sweep" ? also known as "Zero Pellet Loss" (see Plasteurope.com of 24.06.2016). The general framework as well as technical possibilities and requirements for the circular economy were also discussed.

The approximately 200 participants of the conference did not leave Malta feeling that all the problems are solved ? far from that. The threat as such, in its magnitude as well as in tackling excesses, is at least something to contend with. "It's doable, it's fixable ? if we work together" was one participant's message.08.05.2018 Plasteurope.com [239640-0]

» Publication Date: 08/05/2018

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research, technological development and demonstration (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° [606572].

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