As part of the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, the Circular Plastics Alliance aims at improving the economics and quality of plastics recycling in Europe. The Alliance should help the supply and demand for recycled plastics in the EU market to match at 10 million tons by 2025, at least EXPRA was invited to participate in the launch of the Circular Plastics Alliance by DG Growth in February 2019 and was represented at the meeting by Monika Romenska, EXPRA’s Regulatory & Public Affairs Manager. As part of the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, the Circular
Plastics Alliance aims at improving the economics and quality of plastics recycling in Europe. The Alliance should help the supply and demand for recycled plastics in the EU market to match at 10 million tons by 2025, at least.
Business organisations representing all stages of plastic production, use and recycling in our economy are invited to this first, high-level meeting. The objective of the first meeting was to agree on a common vision towards more and better plastics recycling in Europe and set a work plan for concrete deliverables in 2019. This outcome should serve as a basis for the creation of an effectively functioning market for secondary plastic materials. The intention is that the Alliance meets twice in 2019, with meetings of working groups at operational level in-between.
The participants to the first meeting of the Circular Plastics Alliance agreed:
- To work together to reach the EU target that 10 million tons of recycled plastics are sold on the EU market by 2025
- To work together along the plastics value chains
- To work together on 5 priority topics: better collection and sorting of plastic waste; better product design for recycling; greater recycled plasticcontent in products; R&D and investments, including chemical recycling; and monitoring of progress.
The participants agreed that the 10 million tons target was reachable, but required taking the following actions as a matter of priority
- Invest in several recycling technologies, including chemical recycling technologies;
- Implement separate collection of plastic waste across the EU;
- Improve sorting of plastic waste. This required to invest in R&D and waste management infrastructures, also to properly sort multi-layered or flexible packaging such as foils;
- Improve the recyclability of plastic products (product design).
There were shared views that industry in the plastics value chains was ready to invest more and commit to do more on a voluntary basis in order to reach the 10 million tons target. There was a call for the Circular Plastics Alliance to encourage new voluntary commitments by industry; but public authorities should also help the industry implement their actions and ambitions by providing clear and consistent framework conditions across the EU. Legislation applicable to plastics recycling and recycled plastic materials should not discourage recycling or send contradictory signals.
There was also consensus that the industry should establish a reliable monitoring system to track progress and ensure trust among all stakeholders. Several participants stressed that the objective was to maintain the quality and value of virgin materials after recycling, whenever feasible – as opposed to “downcycling”. This was stressed especially for food contact grades (“from yogurt pot to yogurt pot”).
Several participants also stressed that the objective was to collect all plastic waste and landfill no plastic waste. Consumers should be educated to value, not litter and properly dispose of plastic waste.
At the first meeting, the participants confirmed their commitment to work together along the plastics value chains and ensure that 10 million tons of recycled plastics are used in the EU by 2025.
They agreed to work in priority on 5 topics:
- Collection and sorting of plastic waste
- Product design for recycling
- Recycled plastic content in products
- R&D and investments, including chemical recycling
- Monitoring of recycled plastics sold in the EU