ETC/CE Report 2023/1 Pathways to circular plastics in Europe: Good examples from countries, business and citizens

20 Feb 2023

Ive Vanderreydt, Alexandra Almasi, Emma Strömberg, Anna Tenhunen-Lunkka, Mona Arnold, Lars Fogh Mortensen, Tobias Nielsen, Freja Paulsen

This ETC/CE report provides the detailed analysis underpinning the EEA briefing 'Pathways towards circular plastics in Europe'.

If we want to avoid plastics becoming a victim of its own success - continuing to cause high and increasing environmental and climate pressures - there is a clear need for further changes towards circularity and sustainability in the way we produce, use and manage it. This relates both to the extraction, production, use and end-of-life treatment.

The heterogeneity of plastics, its use and corresponding pressures require a diversified approach to move towards circularity and sustainability, combining an application specific focus and a systemic view on the way forward. The diversity of polymers, its applications, and geographical contexts makes it challenging to provide all-inclusive solutions.

Using the pathways ‘smarter use’, ‘increased circularity’ and ‘renewable materials’ previously analysed and explained in an earlier EEA report (EEA, 2020b) as a starting point, main trends and challenges per pathway are analysed in this report, using existing good practice examples across Europe already addressing these issues and challenges - good practice examples which could be further implemented and upscaled.