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Plastics roadmap: aiming for a breakthrough in the circular economy of plastics by 2030

The Finnish Plastics Roadmap is a national program whose main objective is to promote the circular economy of plastics and achieve significant breakthroughs in Finland by 2030. Launched in 2018 and updated in 2022, the first phase of the Roadmap brings together key actions to reduce the harmful effects of plastics, avoid unnecessary consumption, improve plastics recycling and find substitutes. These actions cover the entire plastic value chain, from product design to the disposal of plastic waste.

The Plastics Roadmap is important for Finland as it aims to find solutions to the environmental challenges posed by plastics and to encourage more sustainable use of plastics.

Reduce and avoid, recycle and replace

The aim is to achieve a breakthrough in the circular economy in Finland by 2030 through the following actions:

1. Reducing litter and other environmental damage caused by plastics
2. Avoiding unnecessary plastic consumption and promoting plastic reuse
3. Increasing the recycling of plastics and the recyclability of plastic products
4. Replacing virgin plastics made from fossil raw materials with recycled plastics or sustainably produced renewable materials

The Plastic Roadmap sets out quantified targets that illustrate what the Plastic Roadmap work is aiming to achieve. The targets are indicative and will be refined as the work progresses. For example, the target for packaging plastic is to recycle 60% by 2030.

The targets in the Plastics Roadmap are also linked to targets from elsewhere. These include EU waste directives, the Single-Use Plastic Products Directive (SUP), circular economy programmes and various strategies. At national level, waste laws and regulations, as well as various programmes and agreements, also have an impact on the circular economy of plastics.

The network, coordinated by the Ministry of Environment, encourages cooperation

The Plastics Roadmap encourages cooperation and involves a wide range of actors from business to research institutes, organisations and public authorities. The network is coordinated by the Ministry of the Environment.

In addition to the Ministry of the Environment, the active partners in the Plastics Roadmap are Business Finland, Finnish Food and Drink Industry, the Finnish Commerce Federation, the Natural Resources Institute Finland, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, MTK, Metsäteollisuus, Finnish Plastics Industries Federation, the Finnish Construction Industry RT, RAKLI ry, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, KIVO, Finnish Packaging Producers Ltd, Sumi Oy, Finnish Environment Institute, VTT, THL, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Ministry of Finance, Recycling Industry of Finland and WWF Finland.

The actions of the Plastics Roadmap affect businesses in many ways. For example, the packaging industry can look deeper into bio-based and recycled plastics, using these alternatives to reduce the need to produce plastics from fossil raw materials. Participating in the objectives of the Plastics Roadmap will not only contribute to the circular economy, but will also open up new business opportunities and markets for companies. By doing their part, companies can demonstrate responsibility and environmental awareness, which can enhance their reputation and even attract new customers, investors and partners.

The debate often focuses on the disadvantages of plastics, such as their slow degradation and negative impacts on ecosystems, but it is important to recognise and highlight the benefits of plastics. Firstly, plastic packaging is hygienic, protecting the product from external contaminants such as bacteria and dirt. This significantly increases food safety. Plastic packaging can also prolong the shelf life of food, which helps reduce food waste. In addition, plastic packaging is lighter than many other materials, reducing transport costs and carbon footprint. It is important to strike a balance between the benefits and drawbacks of plastic and, above all, to remember to use and recycle plastics responsibly.

Source and more information on the Plastic Roadmap:

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