Research and innovation will be key for new EU strategy on plastics
On 16 January 2018, the European Commission adopted the EU strategy on plastics which should be part of the transition towards a more circular economy. The goal of this strategy is to protect the environment from plastic pollution whilst fostering growth and innovation. According to the Commission, there is a strong business case for transforming the way products are designed, produced, used, and recycled in the EU.
Reaching most of the objectives outlined in the Plastics Strategy will require research and innovation in several areas and therefore major additional investments. Existing EU funding (Structural Funds, European Fund for Strategic Investments, Circular Economy Finance Support Platform, Horizon 2020) will continue to support businesses in their efforts to move towards more recyclable plastics and Member States in their efforts to upgrade their existing waste management infrastructure, the Commission announced. So far, Horizon 2020 has provided more than €250 million to finance R&D in areas of direct relevance for the strategy. Until 2020, an additional €100 million will be devoted to financing priority actions under this strategy, including on the development of smarter and more recyclable plastics materials, more efficient recycling processes and the removal of hazardous substances and contaminants from recycled plastics.