European plastics recycling industry under threat

The European Plastics Recyclers (EuPR - warns that the European plastics recycling industry is under threat due to a combination of circumstances affecting the market. The plastics recycling industry has been growing and evolving fast over these past years. This industry enabled the recycling of over 5 million tonnes of plastics waste in 2007 and contributing substantially to the European objective of reducing CO2 emissions. Firstly, the margins for plastics recyclers vanished due to the implosion of virgin plastics price combined with the high price of the collected plastics waste. Supply and demand should normally ensure the balance in the market value of the plastics waste prices but this is not the case. A possible explanation could be that although the European recycling targets are harmonised the collection and financing systems are different in each European country. Furthermore, Members States have to safeguard present collection and sorting centres and do not have to delay their further expansions. These developments are fundamental to meet the Waste Framework Directive objective targeting to 50% recycling by 2020. Secondly, there has been a sudden stop of oversees export of plastics wastes. EuPR working groups have always stressed that local waste has to find a local solution and that export is a threat to sustainability. But the abruptness of the export stop created huge logistic challenges and might overstretch the capacity limits of certain collection systems. Moreover, the price of plastics waste did not fall as it could be expected given the market supply and demand situation. The EuPR working groups (PE Films, PET & PVC) are offering their platforms to facilitate the communication on this issue with all the stakeholders involved in the value chain. The target is to find a way in securing the local European plastics recycling capacities in order to reach the goals set by the European legislator and move further towards a recycling society. (Press Release - EuPR)
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