Reduced and more efficient use of plastics. This objective includes the implementation of the Single Use Plastics directive and the phasing out and/or banning of microplastics. OVAM also aims to promote distribution methods that reduce the use of packaging, including a Green Deal with the distribution sector. The aquatic environment also receives attention, with actions to limit the loss of pellets and the provision of resources for Flemish ports and waterway operators to avoid and clean up floating waste. The plan also foresees international cooperation, set up with one of the five countries responsible for more than half of the influx of plastic waste into the oceans.
Create a sustainable recycling market for plastics. Additional efforts for selective collection (e.g. via the roll-out of the P+MD plan) should further reduce residual waste, which will also allow us to reduce waste incineration and CO2 emissions. What we collect selectively, we should be able to process as much as possible in our own region. The plastic ban in China and other South-East Asian countries may represent an ecological and economic opportunity in this respect. An important part of the plan is that the government frees up resources to invest in additional sorting and recycling capacity in Flanders. Meanwhile, OVAM is also pleading at European and OECD level for more transparency in the export of plastic waste.
Using plastic recyclate as a fully-fledged raw material. The plan provides for actions to increase the demand for plastic recyclates. For instance, detecting and tackling barriers in product standards and quality standards, investigating the need for fiscal instruments and actively searching for applications in which we can promote the use of plastic recyclate.
Knowledge and data gathering. There is still too little data available on the processing of plastic waste, both at home and abroad. The use of recycled plastics in end products, plastic litter in rivers and seas and the presence of microplastics will also be monitored.
The exemplary role of governments in circular procurement policy. Governments can use their procurement policies as a lever to promote the use of recycled plastics or discourage the use of ‘throwaway’ materials.
OVAM has produced an action plan on marine litter, in cooperation with all relevant stakeholders (governmental bodies, local authorities, port and waterways authorities, NGOs and industry). The plan addresses all sources of marine litter and contains 21 specific goals and 36 measures to prevent the leakage of all types of solid waste into the marine environment.