Tuesday, June 11, 2024
The content of recycled plastics in new products is a challenge that the European Commission has been engaging with the plastics processing industry for a few years now and aims to stimulate the interest of users of plastics aimed at producing new products.
The most difficult hurdle is to entice such use with a guarantee that MPS (Raw-Second-Materials) will yield like virgin ones and react to physical-mechanical stresses in the same way, as well as ensure gloss, transparency, product and consumer safety and protection. The undertaking is not easy. The imposition by legislation of a percentage of recycled in new products (particularly plastic packaging) is something absolutely new in the plastics market. There are basically two legislative documents with this obligation, the EU Directive 2019/904 on Single Use Plastics (Single Use Plastic) and the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), which is currently finishing its legislative process. For both documents, please refer to the in-depth legislative discussion.
The evolution of recycled plastics content (mechanical and chemical recycling) in plastic products before legislative impositions come into effect in 2025 (the first target is set for 2025 by the UAS directive for what concerns PET bottles, which will have to have 25 % recycled) is certainly an encouraging sign. According to Plastics Europe, compared to 2018, recycled content in new products has increased by 70%. In 2022, European processors used 6.8 million tons of post-consumer recycled plastics, accounting for 12.6 percent of the total plastics converted into new products and components compared to a consumer input of about 54.1 million tons in 2022. If this positive trend continues at the same pace, the goal of the Circular Plastics Alliance initiative - 10 million tons of post-consumer recycled content in new plastic products and components by 2025 - is within reach.


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