In light of the upcoming votes on the Plastics Strategy and the Single-Use Plastics Products and the implementation of the Circular Economy Package, a coalition of 34 organisations and companies have called for EU action on recycled content mandates for plastics to “close the circular economy loop”.
Up to €10bn worth of investments will be needed to innovate and expand the separate collection, sorting and recycling capacity at EU level, according to recent analysis.
The coalition said the sector is prepared to make the necessary investments if there are legislative measures ensuring a significant uptake of plastic recyclates; which is becoming even more necessary by the minute in view of the Chinese ban on imports of certain waste streams.
It says a strong demand for recycled plastics will only result from concrete binding actions accompanied by economic measures to bridge the price gap detrimental to plastics from recyclates.
The group, which includes the Resource Association, FEAD and Keep Britain Tidy, recommends setting minimum recycled content requirements for plastic products and packaging products where environmental benefits exist, and where food safety considerations are met, noting levels will vary by product and material. These requirements should escalate over time.
Utilisation of recycled resin instead of virgin resin has a significant impact on energy and pollution reduction, the group says. It exponentially reduces climate emissions and improves resource efficiency, while at the same time carving out a future role for European enterprises and turning the recent China ban to our advantage.
It also recommends that eco-modulation of fees paid by producers is designed in a way that does not only consider the recyclability of products, but the recycled content as well. Likewise, green public procurement is also an important tool to increase demand for secondary raw materials.
Lastly, the group recommends that the European Commission review and consider “new and innovative approaches” though economic incentives and penalties to encourage the procurement of recycled resin.