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EU manufacturers 'unable to deal with waste plastic pledge'

More recycled plastic has been offered under the EU’s plastics strategy than can be used by manufacturers.

A preliminary assessment by the European Commission found that at least 10 million tonnes of recycled plastics could be supplied by 2025 if the pledges are fully delivered.

But only five million tonnes is wanted by companies that can use the material, leaving a substantial surplus.

Commission first vice-president Frans Timmermans said: “To get to a circular plastics economy, it is essential that more recycled plastics find their way into new products.

“While we are very grateful for the variety of contributions we received from industry representatives, more needs to be done. We will now analyse which should be the next steps to further boost the uptake of recycled plastics and close the gap between supply and demand.”

By the end of October, the Commission had more than 60 pledges, and is analysing these by the types of plastic involved and the volume of supply and demand. Its results will be published in the first quarter of 2019.

The main pledges received came from plastics recyclers, industry associations for expanded polystyrene and brand owners of PET packaging.

Demand for recycled plastics might increase quickly if good quality material became available in stable quantities and at competitive prices. The Commission said it would take “further actions…to support an increased demand for recycled plastics”.

The plastics strategy was launched in January 2018 as part of the transition towards a circular economy.

Its aims are that all plastic packaging on the EU market will be recyclable by 2030, the consumption of single-use plastics would be reduced and the intentional use of microplastics restricted.

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