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Can manufacture of plastics be sustainable under the new EU taxonomy requirements?

April 17, 2023
 min read

The inclusion of plastic manufacturing as an eligible activity under the EU taxonomy has been controversial. However, the manufacturing of plastics in primary form and manufacture of plastic packing goods have been included in the technical screening criteria from the delegated acts. The EU has set strict requirements for when plastic manufacturing can be seen as sustainable.

The Celsia team sets out some of the key things to know about the new requirements:

  • Manufacture of plastics in primary form can make a substantial contribution to climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation. It is categorized as a transitional activity. This means that where there is no technologically and economically feasible low-carbon alternative to an activity, it can qualify as contributing substantially to climate change mitigation where it supports the transition to a climate-neutral economy.
  • Plastics in primary form must be fully manufactured by mechanical recycling of plastic waste, fully manufactured by chemical recycling of plastic waste, or be manufactured wholly or partially from renewable feedstock in order to qualify as sustainable.
  • It must also have greenhouse gas emissions lower than those of equivalent plastics from fossil fuel feedstock.
  • Manufacture of plastic packing goods can be sustainable if it complies with the criteria to make a substantial contribution to a transition to a circular economy.
  • To qualify as sustainable, plastic packing goods must meet criteria for both choice of feedstock, and design of the product. Plastic packing goods should be made from feedstock that is 95% mechanically recycled, chemically recycled, biobased or CCU (Carbon Capture and Utilization) feedstock, and should apply design-for-recycling principles.



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