18 Nov 2015

Increased plastics waste collection suggests higher recycling rates

PRE is welcoming this sudden increase of plastics collection in Europe as this is an essential step towards plastics recycling. This could be proof that higher recycling rates are more achievable and realistic than expected in our latest study suggesting a 60% recycling rate for plastic [2].

However, the increase in plastics waste collected for recycling did not translate into increased plastics recycling in Europe. In fact, plastics recyclers have not seen an increase in feedstock for their plants. Furthermore, the exports of plastics waste have been globally stable over the last three years. Therefore, it can be questioned where over 1Mt of additionally collected plastics waste (6.6Mt collected for recycling in 2012 to 7.7Mt in 2014) have ended up.

This underlines the fact that quality collection and sorting are essential to drive investments and job creation in Europe. Additionally, the data on waste collection must become more transparent and harmonised across Europe.

Thus, the new Circular Economy Package must structure the vital steps of collection, sorting and data reporting. It goes against the base of a circular economy that sorting is not mentioned in any of the EU legislation.

[1] Consultic - Plastics - the Facts 2015 - http://www.plasticseurope.org/
[2] Study on an increased mechanical recycling target for plastics, BIOIS