Brussels (Brussels Morning) The EU is stepping up actions to ensure the recyclability of 26 plastic products in packaging, construction, agriculture and home appliances. The plastic waste derivative from these products accounts for over 60% of waste collected in Europe.
The new targets were announced by the Circular Plastics Alliance, which in 2019 pledged to recycle 10 million tonnes of plastic by 2025.
Circular Plastics Alliance
With the support from the European Commission, the Circular Plastics Alliance was voluntarily created by private and public stakeholders involved in the plastics value chains, as part of the European Plastics Strategy that promotes the use of more recycled plastics in Europe.
According to the Commission, the production of plastic has grown exponentially in just a few decades — from 1.5 million tonnes in 1950 to 359 million tonnes in 2018 worldwide — and with it the amount of plastic waste.
The EU has been trying to find circular and climate-friendly ways of managing its plastic waste.
Under the new initiative, the EU executive is confident that the goal of reaching 10 million tonnes will be accomplished.
“With the Circular Plastics Alliance, the plastics value chain is showing great cooperation towards the transition to circular plastics”, Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, said in welcoming the Alliance’s initiative.
Since the launch of the Alliance in 2018, good progress has been made with an increase of almost 30% in the European production of recycled plastics.
Within the EU, an estimated 41.5% of plastic packaging waste was recycled in 2018. Seven EU countries — Lithuania, Slovenia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Slovakia and Spain — have managed to recycle more than half of the plastic packaging waste generated.
“The mobilisation of all actors, public and private, along the value chain and across key plastics-using sectors, is also improving Europe’s resilience by maximising the use of plastic waste as a valuable resource. I welcome these efforts and count on the alliance’s continued engagement”, Breton said.
The Circular Plastics Alliance has also developed a roadmap to achieve the 10 million tonnes and adopted a strategy for a new EU-wide monitoring system of recycled plastics.
Today, the Alliance represents almost 300 industry, academic and public sector organisations across the recycled plastics value chain.
The first voluntary pledges for recycled plastics made by industry revealed that the supply of recycled plastics could reach and exceed the target. However, more work is needed to ensure the use of recycled plastics. With that in mind, the Alliance is preparing a report on the solutions required to increase the integration of recycled plastics in products by 2025.
Globally, researchers estimate that the production and incineration of plastic pumped more than 850 million tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in 2019. By 2050, those emissions could rise to 2.8 billion tonnes, a part of which could be avoided through better recycling.