EuRIC calls for urgent measures to support crisis-hit plastic recycling

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European umbrella trade association EuRIC has set out measures that it says are essential for supporting the crisis-hit plastic recycling industry.

A combination of the Covid-19 pandemic and plummeting oil prices have resulted in a sharp decline in the price of virgin plastics, which has also forced recycled material prices down.

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As reported by REB Market Intelligence, the market in the Netherlands is reported to have collapsed.

The organisation noted that recycled polymers can’t compete with falling virgin polymer prices due to the crash in crude oil prices. As a result, this is jeopardising the economic viability of plastics recyclers across Europe.

It said in a statement that the only positive development related to food grade rPET thanks to recycled content targets set by the Single-Use Plastics Directive. This has led to stable demand and prices.

EuRIC has called for urgent support measures for plastic recycling in Europe. These are:

  • Systemic support in Member States to the plastic recycling industry, in particular mechanisms to stimulate the demand for recycled materials
  • Pragmatic mandatory EU recycled content targets for plastics commonly used in products to stimulate the demand for recycled materials and secure investments to scale up capacity and create jobs in Europe
  • Incentives, be them market-based or tax-based, to close the price gap between virgin and recycled plastics proportionally to the well-documented CO2 and energy savings from plastics recycling.

EuRIC Plastics Recycling Branch vice president Sophie Sicard said: “The two-tier market witnessed in the current crisis where plastics used in applications not subject to binding sustainability targets sees their prices driven by short-term cost savings offered by the crash of oil values versus plastics used in applications benefiting from sustainability targets whose price-setting follows a positive trend, regardless of the crisis, is the ultimate proof of the need to set targets of incorporation of recycled materials in new products.”

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