Organisations call for EU action on recycled content for plastics to close circular loop

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A coalition of 34 organisations and companies have called for EU action on recycled content mandates for plastics to close the circular loop.  

This follows the upcoming vote on the Plastics Strategy, the single-use plastics products and the implementation of a circular package.  

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While the cosignatories have welcomed the European Commission’s Plastic strategy to boost the uptake of recycled products, they said that without minimum recycled content legislation there isn’t enough incentive for manufacturers to shift from virgin to recycled plastics long term.  

They believe that voluntary procurements agreements could result in uncompetitive business, especially when virgin resin is cheaper than recycled.  

From this, they state that legal certainty provided by recycled content mandates for plastic packaging and products would benefit all member states, collection and sorting companies, recycled resin producers, and plastic producers. 

A minimum recycled content of 30% by 2025 would boost the markets for recycled plastics within Europe and grow the local market and recycling up to 10m tonnes of plastic waste EU-wide would mean €10 billion investments in collection, sorting and treatment facilities, said the signatories.  

While the organisations said that they realise there is an insufficient quantity of clean recyclate on the market to meet the recycled content requirements, they believe that by working together with the value chain, both supply and demand can be met in an economically-viable way.  

Recommendations made by the cosignatories include:  

  • Setting a minimum recycled content requirement for plastic products and packaging where environmental benefits exist 
  • Using recycled resin instead of virgin to impact energy and pollution reduction 
  • Eco-modulation of feeds paid by producers to be designed in a way that doesn’t just consider the recyclability of the product, but the content too 
  • The EU to review and consider new and innovate approaches through economic incentives and penalties to encourage the procurement of recycled resin.       

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