I had a very inspiring meeting organised by Globe EU (http://www.globe-eu.org) at the EU parliament, hosted by MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen.
The issue of plastics will grow exponentially and in emerging markets the growth is becoming mind-blowing.
I fully support the EU commission that we need to change paradigm and think about product design first (instead of waste policies like in the past). Product design related policies were at the heart of the EU’s End of Pipe emissions for vehicles strategy and it has worked. In fact, it worked so well that some car markers were cheating it.
Here are some thoughts for future policies:
Incentivise high recycled content in products with lower taxes e.g.. get exempt VAT for a while
Use of green public procurement to buy more products with high recycled content
Much more aggressive policies to end landfill and massively decrease WTE for many waste streams (the market would react and create technologies to recycle)
Standardisation of packaging waste with good practice and standard materials
Helping develop voluntary standards that incentivise recycled content eg. in the construction industry standards such as LEED or BREEAM favour recycled content
Tax carbon (recycled content has lower footprint than virgin)
Dedicate more research to understand what incentives and knowledge are needed for product manufacturers to design better dissasemblable products
Dedicate more research to understand what are current and future recycling technologies and how these link to market barriers for the processed waste streams