A group of leading European plastics trade bodies has listed a series of recommendations which were essential if the region was serious about creating a circular economy for the material.
In a joint statement, Brussels-based Plastics Europe, European Plastics Converters (EuPC) and Plastics Recyclers Europe said they wanted six undertakings enacted in order to enhance sustainability and steer consumers and public bodies in the same direction.
Calling on European and national institutions to adopt the recommendations, the trio said they wanted to see the mandatory separate collection of all packaging from residual waste by 2025, along with zero plastics to landfill in place by the same year.
While the group said its members were “willing” to play their part, it believed the 55% plastic packaging ‘preparing for re-use and recycling' target was “challenging”.
The European Commission should “establish a uniform methodology for the calculation of the targets of ‘preparing for re-use and recycling' and the measurement point for recycling performance”, the group said.
“Uniformity will set a level-playing-field for all actors on the market and enable an accurate overview of member states' performance as well as meaningful comparisons.”
Quality standards for plastic waste and its treatment should be developed across the European Union, “including specifications for sorted waste, harmonisation of tests methods for recycled plastic materials, and certification of plastic recycling operations”.
And innovation in technologies throughout the entire plastics value-chain “should be stimulated to increase the potential for recycling”.
President of Plastics Europe and Covestro boss Patrick Thomas said: “The Commission's circular economy package is an opportunity to achieve a more resource efficient Europe.
“For the circular economy to deliver long-term and sustainable environmental benefits, it is essential that the whole life cycle of products is taken into account from the perspective of a low-carbon economy.
“Our industry is committed to a sustainable future within a low-carbon economy and the plastics value-chain will continue to work together towards this common goal.”
Michale Kundel, president of EuPC, said the circular economy package was “the right way forward” for the plastics industry.
“Industry will develop innovative tools and new business models as well as products that will contribute to the new circular economy within the next decades.
“We will work together to develop quality recyclates to fulfil the future needs in our plastics industry markets.”