EU requirements on recycled content should be set / Bottle-return schemes can ensure high-quality recyclate for processors / Reloop position paper
Reloop (Brussels / Belgium; has published a position paper on the European Commission's single-use plastics strategy this month – see of 29.05.2018. The position paper comprises three main themes.

Firstly, Reloop supports mandating minimum recycled plastics content in products, which will offer manufacturers of these products "a level playing field" to do business, including when virgin material is less expensive than recycled resin. Furthermore, "a progressive outlook and legal certainty would be beneficial for all member states, providing new economic opportunities and creating jobs." Setting EU-wide minimum requirements for recycled content in packaging and other applications is "the best way to radically reduce climate emissions and improve resource efficiency, while at the same time carving out a future proof role for European enterprises." Reloop proposes to focus on PET beverage containers, as a first step, which complements the commission's 2025 collection target of 90% for drink containers.

The Brussels-headquartered organisation also supports high collection and recycling rate targets for drink containers. Reloop notes that bottles are a major source of marine litter – data from the European Commission show bottles and caps make up just over 21% of single-use plastic litter on European beaches. Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE, Brussels; similarly says that PET collection needs to improve, with around 200,000 t of PET recycling capacity in Europe, which could be processed into recyclate, remaining underused – see of 09.07.2018. According to Petcore Europe (Brussels;, almost 60% of bottles and containers made from PET (3.15m t) were collected in 2016, and the recycling rate for these was 56% (1.7m t) – see of 04.01.2018.

Lastly, Reloop backs the establishment of deposit-refund schemes for single-use plastic drink bottles, which have been shown to achieve over 90% return rates in countries including Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania and the Netherlands. Deposit-refund systems can play a key role in ensuring a sufficient supply of high-quality material for processors, says Reloop. Other EU member states discussing introduction of the schemes include France – see of 12.02.2018 – and the UK – see of 18.09.2017 and 05.04.2018. The schemes can also be used for other items, such as fishing nets, coffee cups and electronic products. Along those lines, the Romanian government is in talks to implement a deposit-refund scheme for packaging – see of 28.02.2018.

A non-profit organisation, Reloop is a platform that connects stakeholders from industry, government and NGOs, to address issues, policies and systems that promote a European circular economy. This includes plastics producers, distributors, recyclers, academia, NGOs, trade unions, green regions and cities.

Reloop's position paper (July 2018) as a PDF file
17.07.2018 [240180-0]
Published on 17.07.2018

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