Low recycling rates, varying recycling possibilities, and accumulation in nature are issues commonly associated with plastics. Promoting sustainable and circular practices with plastics requires the awareness and engagement of all the stakeholders from public to private actors operating in the plastics value chain. Notwithstanding the existence of several public laws and policies aiming to regulate plastic production and use in order to make the whole value chain more circular, most of these instruments target only specific stakeholder groups (e.g. plastics producers) and affect only certain types of plastics. Even if some private law and governance instruments, such as certifications (including intellectual property rights) and eco-labelling schemes, have great potential to affect a broader range of actors, among them consumers and other end-users, they suffer from several shortcomings, particularly when it comes to transparency and accountability. In addition, both public and private law instruments are challenged by the immaturity and complexity of the methodologies currently employed, such as life cycle assessment (LCA). This is apt to lead these legal tools to have a limited ability to establish the actual environmental impacts of different types of plastics, and thus properly contribute to sustainable and circular practices. We argue that to be effective in guiding stakeholder behaviour towards sustainability, these legal tools should be accountable, transparent, and backed up by adequate scientific evidence on the environmental impacts of plastics throughout their life cycle. We propose that such evidence could be obtained through holistic LCA that is based on harmonized international standards.
|Tila||Julkaistu - helmik. 2022|
|OKM-julkaisutyyppi||A1 Julkaistu artikkeli, soviteltu|