New initiative calls for EU regulators to make recycled content mandates for plastics / Minimum requirements would boost recyclate markets
A group of 34 associations and companies connected to the recycling and waste industries, along with the European Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services (FEAD, Brussels / Belgium;, have made an appeal to the European Commission to create legislation on the use of recycled materials in new products. The signatories of this call for action, titled "Closing the Circular Economy Loop", include Reloop (Brussels; and Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE, Brussels; The FEAD says strong demand for recyclate will only result from concrete binding actions as well as economic measures to bridge the price gap detrimental to recycled plastics.

The call for action states that legislation for recycled content mandates on plastic packaging and products – see of 17.07.2018 – would benefit all EU member states. This includes collection companies, recyclate producers and manufacturers of plastic products and goods packaged in plastic. The proposal states that a minimum recycled content of "just 30% by 2025 would considerably boost the markets for recycled plastics within Europe," and it estimates that recycling up to 10m t of polymers EU-wide would mean as much as EUR 10 bn investments are needed for the collection, sorting and processing of plastics waste.

Volatile pricing of virgin plastics can disrupt developments for secondary plastics. When sales of regrind increase, this can result in expanded investments, and create a single market that is not as easily influenced by other markets.

Successful examples of recycled content laws, such as in California and other US states, are also listed. The EU directives on single-use plastic products, packaging and packaging waste, construction products and end-of-life vehicles offer opportunities to stimulate investments and incentives for the use of recyclate. In addition, the mandates can promote innovation and creativity in product design.

The initiative recommends the EU commission to set minimum recycled content requirements for plastic products – where environmental benefits exist and conditions such as food safety are met. It notes that quotas would vary depending on product and material. Eco-modulation fees levied on producers should consider not only the recyclability of products, but also the recycled content used. The EU policy makers should also review and consider innovative approaches through economic incentives and penalties to stimulate demand for recycled resins, the proposal concludes.

FEAD’s members are national waste management associations covering 19 EU member states, Norway and Serbia. They have an approximate 60% share in the household waste market and handle more than 75% of industrial and commercial waste in Europe.

"Closing the Circular Economy Loop" (July 2018) as a PDF file
24.07.2018 1009 [240261-0]
Published on 24.07.2018

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