A workshop undertaken by MEPs and industry representatives has concluded that the supply of plastic waste must improve to make the recycling industry viable.
The workshop was organised to support the motion for a European Parliament resolution on a European strategy on plastic waste in the environment that is led by rapporteur Vittorio Prodi MEP.
Taking place in September, the European Union has now published a report on the findings of the workshop.
One of the findings of the meeting was that volumes of plastic waste collected were not always stable and this needed to be improved.
The report said: “As one of the preconditions for raising the recycling rate, it was considered necessary to increase the security of the plastic waste supply. Only with stable plastic waste supplies can investments in the recycling infrastructure be made.
“Information campaigns should be launched and legal and economic instruments applied to improve the collection rates and the quality of the collected plastic waste. Research and development is needed to develop eco-design for plastic products and to optimise the sorting processes.
“The option to motivate citizens to more plastic waste collection by transferring revenues of plastic recycling was discussed. Due to the volatility of the plastic waste market it is, however, unclear if such a measure can be financed by the revenues from plastic waste recycling.”
In order to achieve this stable flow of plastics for recycling, the workshop also argued that efficient separate collection and sorting of plastics as well as high, specific recycling targets for all plastic waste types would be important.
Participants of the workshop also agreed that the landfilling of plastics was the least desirable option in the waste hierarchy and should be banned. They also argued that energy recovery from plastic waste should only be regarded as a transitional step towards a recycling society.
While there was disagreement on how bioplastics should be used with some of the workshop members suggesting these should only be used for single-use items, there was general agreement that oxo-degradable plastics should be banned.
MEPs on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee were due to vote on a strategy for plastic waste put forward by Vittorio Prodi MEP on 5 November, but the vote was postponed.
The workshop was held to provide evidence towards developing this strategy with the aim of eventually holding a vote in the European Parliament that would then be used as the basis for developing new European laws on plastics.