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EU industry coalition makes case for minimum recycled content

packaging

A coalition of 34 European recycling and plastics companies have called on the EU to introduce a statutory minimum recycled plastic content for new products of at least 30% to “considerably boost the markets” for secondary materials.

Signatories to a ’call to action’ included the UK’s Resource Association and Keep Britain Tidy.

It was issued ahead of EU Parliament votes on single-use plastics and the implementation of the circular economy package.

The statement said China’s restriction on waste imports had led to recycling programmes that were “stuck with sorted material with nowhere to go, except landfill or energy from waste”.

It said: “We are of the view that the legal certainty provided by recycled content mandates for plastic packaging and products would be beneficial for all member states, collection and sorting companies, recycled resin producers and producers of plastic goods or goods packaged in plastic.

“A minimum recycled content of just 30% by 2025 would considerably boost the markets for recycled plastics within Europe, thereby growing and strengthening the local market.”

It added that up to €10bn (£8.9bn) of investment is needed to increase recycling capacity across the EU by 10 million tonnes, and that the industry would make this investment “if there are legislative measures ensuring a significant uptake of plastic recyclates”.

Coalition’s recommendations in full

  • We recommend setting minimum recycled content requirements for plastic products and packaging products where environmental benefits exist, and where food safety considerations are met, noting levels will vary by product and material. These requirements should escalate over time. Utilisation of recycled resin instead of virgin resin has a significant impact on energy and pollution reduction. It exponentially reduces climate emissions and improves resource efficiency, while at the same time carving out a future role for European enterprises and turning the recent China ban to our advantage.
  • We also recommend that eco-modulation of fees paid by producers is designed in a way that does not only consider the recyclability of products, but the recycled content as well. Likewise, green public procurement is also an important tool to increase demand for secondary raw materials.
  • Lastly, we recommend that the European Commission review and consider new and innovative approaches though economic incentives and penalties to encourage the procurement of recycled resin.

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