How to Boost Recycling?
The plastics collection rate in Europe is stagnating at 26% (around 6.000,000 tonnes). Thus, around 18.599,000 tonnes are lost annually in landfills and energy recovery, without being reused into new products.
Plastics Recyclers Europe recommends the following four straightforward policies to overcome this unsustainable situation. The implantation of these policies will increase the plastics recycling rate to 62%, create 360,000 green jobs and assure 11,200,000 tonnes of locally produced sustainable plastics.
1. ECO-DESIGN AND RECYCLABILITY GUIDELINES
The design of the already existing products needs to be enhanced by introduction of global eco-design guidelines in order to improve the recyclability. Ensure that plastic waste is separated from other waste at disposal and improve the quality of recyclables by: improving product design to facilitate material separation and recyclability.
Read more about RecyClass tool whose aim is to help to improve the design of plastic products.
2. STADARDS & HARMONISATIONS FOR COLLECTION & SORTING
First of all, the collection numbers as well as the quality of sorted waste need to increase. Moreover EU, standards & harmonization will help consolidating the market in Europe. Promotion of quality collection and sorting shall be the prerogative: plastics should not be discriminated against and should have a dedicated bin in order to allow good quality, separate collection and sorting. Deposit refund systems are a useful tool for raising mono-stream collection rates, while collection and sorting at source can be improved by increasing local capacity and consumer awareness.
3. LANDFILL BAN ON PLASTIC WASTE
Waste diverted from landfill is a resource that could be recycled and only if that option is not possible - incinerated. Complete phase out landfilling of plastics by 2020 by extending and enforcing landfill will stimulate investment in collection, sorting and recycling.
4. HIGHER RECYCLING RATES
The higher the targets are the more motivation there is to increase recycling rates. That has also positive economic and environmental implications. It is observed that Member States who are more advanced and experience tend to help the less advanced one. Recycling rates are the first step towards a recycling society.
5. CREATING A PUL MECHANISM FOR PLASTICS RECYCLATES & DEVELOPING SECONDARY RAW MATERIAL MARKETS
Creation of market for secondary raw materials needs to be facilitated and any obstacles to achieve it shall be removed. The circular economy can be only achieved by creating well-functioning secondary markets. Subsequently, the demand for recycled plastics needs to be increased by for example introducing the minimum recycled content in the new products.
An important factor which heavily influences plastics recyclers in Europe are exports of plastic waste to the developing countries where very often it is processed below the EU standards and frequently putting in danger health of the workers. Plastic waste exports hamper the expansion of the recycling capacity of the EU market.
6. FURTHER INNOVATION OF THE MECHANICAL RECYCLING
The recycling capacity across the Member States needs to be enhanced and improved via investments in the sector.
The data mentioned here above comes from the Study on an increased mechanical recycling target for plastics by Bio Intelligence Service.
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