Decision-makers of Europe have been drawing up a sustainability strategy for the EU and for European industries with the aim of bringing about a waste-free Circular Economy.
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In order to achieve the goals of the Circular Economy, the plastics value chain led by EuPC, PlasticsEurope and PRE are calling for an accord as to the common demands for the Circular Economy Package.
The plastics industry's strategy is firm but essential to reduce waste and lessen plastics' impact on the environment and maintains the target of zero plastics to landfill by 2025, ensuring plastic waste does not languish in the environment.
However, the industry has called the 55 per cent target for plastic packaging preparing for re-use and recycling by 2025 "challenging" and stated the industry is willing to continue to play its part and call for other relevant stakeholders to take affirmative action.
In addition, plastics processors are calling for the mandatory separate collection of all packaging from residual waste by 2025 and calls for the Commission to establish a uniform methodology for the calculation of 'preparing for re-use and recycling' targets, as well as the measurement point for recycling performance. Uniformity will set a level playing field for all players in the market, and will, according to the EuPC, PlasticsEurope and PRE spokespeople, enable an accurate overview of the performance of individual member states, offering meaningful comparisons.
"Recycling will play a growing role in plastics. The current legislative push is going in the right direction and this join industry position translates this trend," noted Ton Emans, PRE President. "In addition to these common position further work must be achieved in terms of design for recycling, controls of waste export and pull mechanisms."
To maintain performance, the EU should set out region-wide quality standards for plastic waste and its treatment, including specifications for sorted waste, harmonisation of test methods for recycled plastic materials and certification of plastic recycling operations.
Finally, technological innovations throughout the whole European plastics value chain should be encouraged to increase the potential for recycling.
Michael Kundel, EuPC President, stated: "This circular economy package is the right way forward for the plastics industry to further enhance sustainability in our way of doing business. It will also guide consumers and public authorities in the same direction.
"Industry will develop innovative tools and new business models as well as products that will contribute to the new circular economy within the next decades. We will work together to develop quality recyclates to fulfil the future needs in our plastics industry markets."
Patrick Thomas, President of PlasticsEurope, added: "The Commission’s Circular Economy package is an opportunity to achieve a more resource efficient Europe. For the Circular Economy to deliver long-term and sustainable environmental benefits, it is essential that the whole life cycle of products is taken into account from the perspective of a low-carbon economy.
"Our industry is committed to a sustainable future within a low-carbon economy and the plastics value-chain will continue to work together towards this common goal."
The European plastics industry is an integral part of the manufacturing in Europe with over 62,000 companies providing more than 1.4 million jobs and annually contributing €26 billion (£22.3 billion) to public finances.