Let’s recycle! Ambitious recycling goals are set by the Circular Plastics Alliance
Too many recyclable materials are not re-used across the EU. From glass to Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), there is an overarching problem that needs to be fixed in the continent. To fix this issue, many stakeholders involved in the plastics value chains have joined the Circular Plastics Alliance (CPA), including members of Smart Packaging Europe. The Alliance exists to promote the use of more recycled plastics in Europe, and it very recently put forward new industry commitments to further the recyclability of plastics in the EU.
Members committed to boosting the EU market for recycled plastics to at least 10 million tonnes of recycled plastics that should find their way into products and packaging in Europe each year, helping to deliver the circular economy with a life cycle approach. To achieve this ambitious goal, almost 3.5 million tonnes of plastics would need to be recycled by 2025. This corresponds to estimated investment needs between € 7.6 billion and € 9.1 billion.
The Alliance will now step-up efforts by ensuring recyclability of 26 top priority plastic products in packaging, construction, agriculture, and home appliances that altogether account for over 60% of plastic waste collected in Europe. EPS food and electronic packaging are among these top priority products. The plan for the recycling of these materials is shown on the new roadmap published by the CPA. The guidance shows the methodology and rules for a new EU-wide monitoring system of recycled plastics- the first-ever EU-wide monitoring system on recycled plastics.
This new ambitious goal was discussed in the latest meeting of the CPA on the 26th of November 2021, and the methods to achieve it have been welcomed by the European Commission. When hearing about the news, Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, embraced these efforts and noted that through the CPA, the plastics value chain shows ‘great cooperation towards the transition to circular plastics.’ He further added that the mobilisation of all actors along the value chain and across key plastics-using sectors is ‘improving Europe’s resilience by maximising the use of plastic waste as a valuable resource.’ It was clear from the Commissioner’s comments that the Commission counts on the CPA’s continued engagement with the environment.
Looking forward, by 2022, the CPA will publish a new report on the requirements and solutions to increase the uptake of recycled plastics in products to 10 million tonnes by 2025. The CPA will regularly update the roadmap to 10 million tonnes and accelerate dialogue and exchange with interested national stakeholders.
This new target demonstrates the industry’s pushes to the further and incremental recyclability of plastics. Smart Packaging Europe is glad that EPS will be a key priority product to target in Europe for its further recyclability. The EPS industry will nonetheless keep on pressing for better technologies and recycling methods for this versatile material.