Plastics industry welcomes landfill ban and demands robust analysis for increased recycling targets

Impact assessment for higher recycling targets insufficient

The European plastics producing industry has applauded the European Commission for their proposal to end the landfilling of all recyclable waste including plastics in Europe. "The examples of those Member States which have already successfully phased out landfilling show that a legislative decision is needed to trigger the necessary investments in recycling and energy recovery of valuable resources like plastics.” explained Karl-H. Foerster, Executive Director of PlasticsEurope. However, the aim of achieving this by 2025 leaves the plastics industry with mixed feelings since the Commission is moving away from the original deadline of 2020 set in the 7th Environmental Action Programme. "We would have liked to see a more ambitious approach to support our target of Zero Plastics to Landfill by 2020”, stated Foerster.  

PlasticsEurope also supports the Commission’s efforts to increase the reliability of waste data and its consistency across the EU through a harmonised calculation methodology. However, it is concerned about the proposal to combine the increased recycling targets for plastic packaging with a new calculation method: "Switching from an input to an output-based calculation and increasing targets at the same time will drive plastics recyclers to focus even more on quantity versus quality, jeopardizing thus the potential environmental benefits of recycling.” explained Foerster. "In addition, attempting to establish a coherent accounting system for incoming and outgoing plastic waste would lead to an increase in auditing costs for recyclers, most of which are SMEs”, he added.  

PlasticsEurope welcomed the aim to cut food waste in Europe by at least 30% by 2025 and highlighted the role of the plastics industry in helping to achieve this target: "Producing one kilo of beef, for example, requires over 15,000 litres of water. Using a few grams of thin plastic film to protect and extend its shelf-life by 10 days significantly contributes to higher resource efficiency. Consequently, considering the life-cycle perspective, whether this film is later recycled or used for energy recovery is beside the point”, stated Foerster.  
Did you know ?
  • A large German automobile manufacturer is using recycled PET bottles for seat cushions in some of their car product series.