Plastic recyclers are the frontrunners in improving waste management and the quality of recycled plastics. Being one of the most environmentally sound waste management options - plastic recycling has also proven to work in practice and on an industrial scale. By saving up to 90% of CO2 emissions compared to the use of virgin plastics, recycling is also an important contributor to mitigating climate change.
However, today, globally still over 90% of plastic waste is not recycled. Therefore, incentivising plastic recycling paired with increased collection must remain high on the agenda in the context of the discussion of the UN Global Treaty taking place at the end of May in Paris. This will allow the replacement of virgin plastic production, while also diverting plastic waste from landfills and incineration.
With the EU having one of the most robust legislations European recyclers are pioneers in meeting the highest quality requirements. In practice, to ensure compliance with food contact legislation, for example, recycled plastics are subject to monitoring of substances implemented at recycling facilities.
Additionally, over the past decades, the plastics recycling industry has been working towards developing and implementing measures ahead of legislation to increase the environmentally sound processes, transparency and safety of recycled materials across the whole value chain. One such, example is setting a certification scheme to prevent the release of microplastics into the environment1 which has been adopted by many recycling companies across Europe.
Since plastic pollution is transboundary, strengthening international cooperation and setting legally binding targets to make plastic value chains more circular is a must. EU’s efforts have a crucial role to play here - with a holistic approach that effectively addresses the whole life cycle of plastic including their production in line with the design for recycling principles, increasing collection and sorting.
1 RecyClass Recycling Process Certification: https://recyclass.eu/get-certified/recycling-process/#1
ABOUT PLASTICS RECYCLERS EUROPE
Plastics Recyclers Europe is an organization representing the voice of the European plastics recyclers who reprocess plastic waste into high quality material destined for production of new articles. Recyclers are important facilitators of the circularity of plastics and the transition towards the circular economy.
Plastics recycling in Europe is a rapidly growing sector representing over €8.7 billion in turnover, 11.3 million tonnes of installed recycling capacity, more than 730 recycling facilities, and over 30.000 employees.