Plastics producers call for mandatory recycled content target
Share article:
Share article:

Plastics producers call for mandatory recycled content target

Credit: Kurt Desplenter/ Belga

Plastics producers have called for the creation of a framework to set a mandatory recycled content target within the European Union by 2030.

PlasticsEurope, which represents around 100 companies producing more than 90% of all polymers in Europe, has called for a 30% target to be set by the start of the next decade, following the European Commission’s proposal for such a target for plastics packaging.

“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,” said Dr Markus Steilemann, President of PlasticsEurope.

On 11 June 2020, the Commission announced it would start an open public consultation on the review of requirements for packaging to ensure packaging waste can be reduced, and to make it easier to recycle, as part of the 1994 Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD).

According to PlasticsEurope, its members are already working towards this target by investing in cutting-edge technological solutions, including chemical recycling, which it states is “essential to achieve such a mandatory target.”

“Our members’ planned investments in this vital technology and infrastructure range from €2.6 billion by 2025 to €7.2 billion by 2030 in Europe,” a press release read.

The association stressed that a “concerted effort must be made”, and that support from European institutions and the whole value chain will be needed.

“We need a harmonised EU policy framework that provides certainty and incentivises further investment in collection, sorting and recycling infrastructure and technologies, including chemical recycling,” said Virginia Janssens, Managing Director of PlasticsEurope.

Chemical recycling is a process by which a polymer is chemically reduced to its original form, to later be remade into new plastic materials that go on to become new plastic products.

Related News


However, according to the environmental association Zero Waste, which campaigns against all waste, the solution does not lie in setting a recycled content target if it involves chemical recycling.

“Designing for chemical recycling’ endangers actual recyclability of plastics and prevents efforts to phase out hard-to-recycle plastic,” said Janek Vähk, Climate, Energy, and Air Pollution Coordinator at Zero Waste Europe.

“Considering the high environmental impact, lack of infrastructure and unproven efficiency, chemical recycling should be the last resort,” she added.

The organisation stressed that most plastic packaging in use today is not designed for reuse or to be recycled, meaning that even if 40% of plastic packaging is reported as recycled in the EU, the effective recycling rate is only about 10-15%.

“Moreover, plastic products are increasingly being marketed with misleading claims of being recyclable and products that claim to be recyclable are not always recycled,” the organisation said, adding that packaging must instead be designed for mechanical recycling.

This type of recycling sees collected plastic debris being washed and melted, after which the waste is transformed into raw material for a new production process of plastic transformation.

However, the organisation stressed the need for the institutions and plastic manufacturing companies to work on reducing the production and consumption of plastic at the source, and then focus on developing reusable packaging solutions.

Latest news

Over 1,000 Covid-19 hospitalisations for first time since early June
The number of patients hospitalised in Belgium as a result of the coronavirus has again exceeded 1,000, climbing to 1,032, according to figures ...
Experts call for more widespread use of masks as figures rise
As coronavirus figures continue to rise, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has suggested that people return to wearing masks when indoors with ...
Belgium wants to recover €420 million in wrongfully paid out coronavirus aid
The Belgian State intends to recover €420 million of unduly paid Covid-19 aid, La Libre Belgique reported on Thursday. The electronic Council of ...
Why the fight for transgender rights is polarising Europe 
Year after year, Samuel De Schepper would ask Santa Claus to bring him a penis for Christmas. Born female and attending an all girl’s Catholic ...
New offshore wind farm officially opened
Despite being operational since the end of 2020, the SeaMade offshore wind farm was officially inaugurated on Wednesday by Prime Minister Alexander ...
Contact tracers have no time for calls, only texts, amid rising cases
Contract tracers will no longer make phone calls to the high-risk contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus beginning from Wednesday, ...
Belgium holds on to top spot in FIFA rankings despite recent losses
Once again, Belgium's Red Devils have held onto their position at the top of the world football rankings, according to an update released by the ...
Proximus pushes for high-speed internet in Brussels and Wallonia
Fifteen municipalities in Wallonia should soon have access to high-speed internet through the rollout of fibre optics in the region, telecoms giant ...
Why Belgium is regulating sex work
After decades of confusing rules and hypocritical policy, Belgium is finally regulating sex work by removing prostitution from the criminal law. ...
World’s largest chocolate warehouse opens in Flanders
On Thursday, Barry Callebaut – the largest global chocolate processor and manufacturer – opened the world's largest chocolate warehouse in Lokeren, ...
Belgium in Brief: Equal Opportunity To Dance
There's a phrase where I'm from, more often said in jest nowadays, but it came to my mind this morning: "Ye dancin'?" (Are you dancing?), one ...
Farmer discovers cocaine in banana boxes bought in Brussels
A Flemish farmer who purchased boxes of bananas at the market in Brussels on Tuesday came home to discover large amounts of cocaine packed among the ...