PlasticsEurope hails Commission's call for an eradication of landfill of recyclable materials by 2020

Moving away from the landfilling of plastics and turning waste into a resource are key milestones on the road to a more resource-efficient society. Therefore PlasticsEurope, the pan-European trade association representing European plastics manufacturers, welcomes the Commission's 7th Environmental Action Programme and calls for a landfill ban of plastic waste to be included in the Landfill Directive in the 2014 review.

In times of austerity, and with no real economic recovery in sight, PlasticsEurope welcomes the Commission’s approach to first focus on further and better implementation of already existing environmental legislation instead of proposing new rules. Poor implementation of EU legislation at national level is currently one of the main obstacles in the attempt to strive for more resource efficiency. The review of the Landfill Directive in 2014 offers another opportunity to make a step-change in EU's resource efficiency policy.

"Business as usual regarding the landfilling of plastics will lead to another 80 million tonnes of plastic waste buried in the ground until 2037, an amount representing about 1 billion barrels of oil or €80 billion", says Wilfried Haensel, Executive Director at PlasticsEurope. "Our goal is to reduce the 10 million tonnes of post-consumer plastics currently being landfilled every year in the EU to close to zero in eight years’ time. A landfill ban for plastic waste in the Landfill Directive will stimulate the plastic recycling sector, it will result in more plastic waste available for recycling and efficient energy recovery and will ultimately lead to the creation of jobs in Europe". Seven EU Member States plus Norway and Switzerland already landfill less than 10% of post-consumer plastic waste. However, eleven EU Member States still landfill more than 60%. This is a result of poor enforcement of existing European legislation and landfilling still being the cheapest waste management option in many Member States.

PlasticsEurope is, however, concerned that the Commission is putting Energy from Waste and landfill on a par. It is crucial that efficient energy recovery from waste facilities to generate electricity and heat remains part of the solutions if we are to reach this challenging goal. Plastic waste has a high calorific value. Therefore, energy recovery in efficient Energy from Waste facilities should remain an option for plastic waste which cannot be sustainably recycled.
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