Sector News

Europe’s plastics industry calls for mandatory EU recycled content target for plastics packaging of 30% by 2030

September 12, 2021
Chemical Value Chain

Europe’s plastics industry has called for a mandatory EU recycled content target for plastics packaging of 30% by 2030. Industry association PlasticsEurope says “an enabling policy framework and collaboration with the value chain are essential to reach the target.”

PlasticsEurope says that Europe’s plastics producers support the European Commission’s previously announced proposal for a mandatory EU recycled content target for plastics packaging, as defined in the Commission’s Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD). This target should be 30% for plastics packaging by 2030, PlasticsEurope says.

The association says it endorses the objective of preventing and reducing excessive packaging and packaging waste. “We welcome the revision of the PPWD, EU legislation that is key to the transition to a circular economy for plastics,” it says.

PlasticsEurope says its members are already working toward the target by investing billions of euros in “increased high-quality supply of recycled plastics and leading-edge technology solutions.” Ramping up chemical recycling is essential to achieve the target, it says. PlasticsEurope members’ planned investments in Europe to develop chemical-recycling technology and infrastructure total €2.6 billion ($3.1 billion) by 2025 and €7.2 billion by 2030.

“The call for a regulated recycled content target for plastics packaging in the EU demonstrates our commitment to accelerate the transformation to a circular economy, helping implement the EU Green Deal and Circular Economy Action Plan,” says Markus Steilemann, president of PlasticsEurope and CEO of Covestro.

Changes of mindset and behavior, as well as higher-performing products, eco-design innovation, and new infrastructure are needed to meet the target, PlasticsEurope says. It adds that recycled content must be derived from all “waste materials” through a technology-neutral approach that includes mechanical and chemical recycling, with a credible mass-balance framework—a set of rules that enables traceability between feedstock input and product output, and along the value chain to the producer of a final article.

“We need a harmonized EU policy framework that provides certainty and incentivizes further investment in collection, sorting, and recycling infrastructure and technologies, including chemical recycling,” says Virginia Janssens, managing director of PlasticsEurope. “It is only by working together with the EU institutions and the value chain that we can deliver on this target. With the right enabling conditions in place this will be a very different industry 10 years from now.”

Plastics Europe cites the Commission’s Circular Plastics Alliance as an example of the type of concerted collaboration that is necessary. The alliance, in which PlasticsEurope plays a leading role, brings together more than 290 value-chain members striving toward the delivery of 10 million metric tons of recycled content in products by 2025, it says.

by Ian Young


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