Transition time! A circular economy for plastics

The Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition (DSGC) aims to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy for plastics. An integrated approach aimed at pioneering innovation and cooperation is required and more urgent than ever. Primarily from an environmental perspective, at the same time the transition provides ample economic opportunities across the entire value chain.

In the publication ‘Transition time! A circular economy for plastics’, the coalition sheds light on the challenges of plastic, shares innovative cases and makes specific recommendations on how to incentivise action. This publication was presented to the Dutch cabinet and Frans Timmermans, European Commission Executive Vice-Presidentfor the European Green Deal, on 13 January by Jan Peter Balkenende, Chair of DSGC.

‘A transition of this magnitude requires shared values and awillingness of various partners to create a responsible society that views plastic as a resource, and not as waste, which is far too often the case right now,’ said Jan Peter Balkenende.

As he accepted the publication, Frans Timmermans agreed that tackling the issue of plastic must be a concerted effort.‘ This publication is urgently needed: we want to significantly reduce the amount of plastics needed and reduce the amount of plastics that are incinerated in the EU. We must also bridge the price difference between virgin plastics and recycled plastics. We will address these matters by revising various guidelines.

’The potential benefits of atransition are huge. A circular economy will dramatically reduce the amount of plastic in the environment. Energy and water consumption will also decrease significantly, as will CO2 emissions. We already have various technologies available that could be used to create innovative applications to retain the value of plastics as a secondary raw material.

Cooperation between governments, knowledge institutions, societal organisations and the business sector is crucial to close the loop. The members of DSGC describe innovative cases from their own practice that illustrate how they joined forces with stakeholders to actually help closing the loop. This knowledge and experience can be a source of inspiration for other companies to also invest in a circular economy. To grow initiatives into impactful sustainable solutions, both harmonised policies & effective legal frameworks are of great importance, for which the DSGC shares specific recommendations.

The publication covers all stages of the value chain:

  1. Promoting principles of circular design: Ensuring that plastics can become a new secondary raw material
  2. Conscious customer andconsumer use: Retaining the value of plastics in the economy
  3. Championing collection infrastructure: Settingup effective and synchronised collection systems
  4. Sustainable production and innovative recycling: Scaling up renewable raw materials and advanced recycling systems
  5. Collectively closing the loop: Creating impact through international cooperation across the entire value chain

For more information about Dutch Sustainable Growth Coalition (DSGC), go to their website.

The Materials of the Future Series exists of several conferences related to sustainability, and the Chistry of the Future Series about recycling.

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