Zero plastics to landfill

Using waste as a resource is key to becoming more resource efficient. At the end of their service life, plastics are still too valuable to be simply thrown away. They can be recycled back into their original forms or a new article and, where this is not possible or sustainable, used for energy recovery as a substitute for virgin fossil fuels.

Applying today’s best practices and technologies in an Eco-efficient (*) manner, the full diversion of plastic waste from landfill by 2025 would lead to an annual additional amount of over 5 Mt of plastic recycling, equivalent to a saving of 7 Mt of CO2 emissions. The remaining plastic waste which cannot be sustainably recycled at this stage together with other associated recoverable waste could generate around 330 TWh of energy annually. This energy would provide 30 million people with electricity, heating and cooling and would save 70 million barrels of oil consumed by the industry, for instance to produce cement.

In Europe, while seven Member States as well as Norway and Switzerland landfill less than 10% of their plastic waste, eleven other Member States still landfill over 50%. 

Since the early 1990s, the association of European Plastics manufacturers has been committed and prepared to contribute to the enhancement of plastics waste management schemes. We call for a landfill ban of all recyclable and recoverable post-consumer waste by 2025 and the establishment of recovery-oriented collection schemes, in particular the separate collection of all packaging. Investments in modern sorting infrastructure and improved recycling and recovery processes should also be supported in order exploit the full potential of this precious resource. 

Our actions are based on:

  • Specific know-how and expertise compiled via studies and thorough evaluations of practices in high-performing member states, 
  • An open dialogue with all relevant stakeholders 
  • Analysis of data on quantities of plastics waste generated, recycled and recovered in Europe regularly compiled and made available to the broader public

* The Eco-efficiency of a product or service describes its societal, environmental as well as its economic performance

Response to the Green Paper on Plastic Waste in the Environment - 7 June 2013

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Related information

Plastics: Too valuable to be thrown away - Recovery, recycling and resource conservation 

Download the PDF here or watch the video:

PlasticsEurope's interview about "Zero Plastics to Landfill by 2020: A clear target"