The recycling body, Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE), says information on plastics waste collection in Europe must be more transparent, as new data released recently1 suggests the recycling rates have not improved, despite collection rates improving.
PRE says it welcomes the sudden increase of plastics collection in Europe, as this is an essential step towards plastics recycling. It said the figures could be proof that higher recycling rates are more achievable and realistic than expected in its latest study, which suggests a 60 percent recycling rate for plastics2.
However, the increase in plastics waste collected for recycling did not translate into increased plastics recycling in Europe. In fact, PRE says plastics recyclers have not seen an increase in feedstock for their plants. Furthermore, the exports of plastics waste have been globally stable over the last three years. The organisation said therefore “it can be questioned” where over 1Mt of additionally collected plastics waste (6.6Mt collected for recycling in 2012 to 7.7Mt in 2014) have ended up.
This, it added, underlines the fact that quality collection and sorting are “essential “ to drive investments and job creation in Europe. Additionally, it says the data on waste collection most become “more transparent and harmonized” across Europe.
PRE said that the new Circular Economy Package must structure the vital steps of collection, sorting and data reporting. “It goes against the base of a circular economy that sorting is not mentioned in any of the EU legislation,” it concluded.
1 Consultic - Plastics - the Facts 2015 - http://www.plasticseurope.org/
2 Study on an increased mechanical recycling target for plastics, BIOIS