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Europe moving forward with targets for increased plastics recycling

At the beginning of July, the European Plastics Recyclers body in Brussels welcomed an overall European wide target to increase recycling of plastics by 2020. “The revision of the European Waste Framework Directive sets a clear hierarchy of waste treatment as well as a target of 50 percent for recycling of plastics from household streams and asks Member States to set up separate collection schemes for plastics,” explained Bernard Merkx, EuPR President. “Member States should not lose the momentum to do this straight away in close cooperation with the plastics recycling industry.” “European policymakers have understood that Member States have to act in order to ensure that proper waste management infrastructures are in place to deal with plastics waste,” continues Merkx. “Although we are disappointed with some of the compromises agreed, it is another step forward.” “By 2020 86 million tons of plastics will be placed on the market and over 30 percent of it will end in the household streams. From these plastics, a minimum of 13 million tons will have to be recycled by 2020. Today only five million tons are being recycled from the packaging market so there is a lot of work ahead of us if we want to comply with these regulatory targets for the 27 Member States. Nevertheless, the way of collection and the quality of sorting is key and there the plastics recycling industry must be directly involved in the discussions.” “The growing use of plastics in the household stream in Europe will provide the recyclers sufficient raw material to invest in additional recycling capacities and to serve the growing demand of plastics converters,” continues Merkx. “The CO2-positive impact of plastics recycling will become more visible to the general public and EuPR hopes the consumer will take care of its waste in a more responsible way. “Moreover, recycling only plastics fractions such as PET will not be enough to comply with the targets. For instance, for PET recycling there is an existing over-capacity in Europe. Therefore, more and better quality collection should be enforced. More has also to be done for recycling PP and PE in order to ensure all plastics in the household stream can be recycled.” EuPR #5067

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