Plastics manufacturers call for ban on landfill in Europe

BRUSSELS, (24 May 2011): PlasticsEurope, the association representing the European plastics manufacturers, today called for an effective ban on the landfilling of waste as the most effective means of improving resource efficiency in Europe. At the start of the annual Green Week conference in Brussels and ahead of the expected launch of a European Resource Efficiency Roadmap next month, PlasticsEurope calls on policy makers to promote and enforce the legislation that will lead to 100% of waste being diverted from landfill to other more sustainable uses.

The European plastics manufacturers are concerned that despite the huge advances in waste management in certain countries in recent years, many EU member states are continuing to invest in landfilling as a cheap short term solution. Such policies create a significant obstacle to the development of more resource efficient options such as recycling and energy recovery of waste materials, including plastics.    

According to Wilfried Haensel, Executive Director of PlasticsEurope, "Eliminating landfill in all European countries is far from being an unrealistic goal. Frontrunner countries have reduced landfilling of plastics waste to almost zero, with significant environmental benefits. However, in more than half of EU Member States over two thirds of end-of-life plastics still end up in landfills. This is often a result of poor enforcement of existing European legislation and short sighted waste management policies at local level. PlasticsEurope therefore calls for an effective Europe-wide ban on landfill to be a key element of the implementation of the EU’s resource efficiency strategy. ”

PlasticsEurope urges policy-makers at European, national and local level to support legal instruments that will help foster innovation and unlock private investment into waste collection, sorting, recycling and recovery, as it is already the case in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Austria and other countries where significant landfill restrictions have been put effectively in place. A particularly striking example is the landfill ban for calorific waste in Germany in 2005 and the consequent dramatic increase in plastics waste recovery within one year, resulting in the recovery of value from nearly 100% of waste plastics.”

"Short sighted ongoing investment in landfill ignores not only the clear environmental case for encouraging more sustainable options, but also the medium to long term economic benefits of doing so. By shifting their focus to prevention, collection, recycling and recovery of materials governments can stimulate the creation of new jobs in this area and avoid the burden of penalties for unsatisfactory implementation of European waste management legislation or emissions reduction targets”, added Wilfried Haensel.       
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