European plastics manufacturers agree roadmap to circular plastics


plastic bottles

European plastics manufacturers have agreed a “Plastics Transition” roadmap that aims to accelerate the transition to make plastics circular and net zero lifecycle emissions.

The “Plastics Transition” roadmap highlights what Plastics Europe calls the “urgent need” for a policy framework that stimulates circular markets and investments.

Plastics Europe says its vision is to create a sustainable plastics system that continues to meet consumer and societal demands while supporting the transitions of many downstream industries.

The roadmap establishes a pathway to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the overall plastics system by 28% by 2030 and towards net zero by 2050. It also predicts that circular plastics could meet 25% of European demand in 2030 and 65% by 2050.

Cumulated additional investments and operational costs to reach these ambitions are projected to be €235 billion, Plastics Europe says.

The roadmap identifies several “key levers and enablers”, and details immediate, short, and medium-term milestones and actions for plastics manufacturers. It also says that circularity requires a whole value chain approach and includes recommended actions for policymakers and value chain stakeholders between now and 2030.

For the first time our industry is united around a hugely ambitious but realistic plan to redesign the European plastics system.

Virginia Janssens, Managing Director of Plastics Europe, commented: “For the first time our industry is united around a hugely ambitious but realistic plan to redesign the European plastics system – the ‘Plastics Transition’ roadmap. It will be our North Star for the years to come and reflects a profound cultural shift that has taken place in our industry.”

The roadmap also calls for a European waste management system fit for a net zero and circular economy, minimum circular plastic content targets for key plastics applications, and unlock industry investments in, for example, chemical recycling infrastructure.

Marco ten Bruggencate, President of Plastics Europe, and Dow EMEA Commercial Vice President Packaging and Specialty Plastics said: “We are excited about the opportunity the Green Deal provides to create a thriving and competitive European plastics industry that allows us to increase investment and innovation in circularity and decarbonisation.

“However, to enable the transition we will need measures to safeguard the competitiveness of our industry if we are to prevent industrial activity and investments from migrating out of Europe to other regions and to avoid becoming increasingly dependent on imports of plastics which do not necessarily meet EU sustainability standards.”

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