Plastic converters, recyclers and collectors have launched a new Europe-wide accreditation and audit scheme, in the hope of creating a level playing field for recyclers to work with collection schemes in all European countries.
The EuCertPlast standard, which was developed by European Plastic Recyclers (EuPR) and the European Association of Plastics Recycling and Recovery Organisations (EPRO), is based on the existing CEN standard 14343 on post-consumer plastics recycling.
EuPR’s Antonio Furfari told FoodProductionDaily.com that, if successful, the EuCertPlast standard will help to align national recycling regulations in European countries - easing the difficulties found by those trying to gain access to plastics waste in these nations.
Harmonised recycling market
“The main thing we hope to achieve through the launch of the EuCertPlast certification is the harmonisation of the European recycling market,” said Furfari.
“We also hope to ensure that all recycling taking place in Europe is happening in a sound manner.”
“We launched the standard because we needed something to cover all recyclers, collectors, purchasers of raw material in Europe and to cover local authorities to ensure that what is happening is done in a sound manner.”
According to Furfari, the accreditation will also ease the difficulties experienced by packaging firms from country to country.
“At the moment, packaging companies using recycled plastic must gain permission from authorities in each country it is working in.”
“For them, the aim is to get all the different systems in different countries asking for the same certification,” said Furfari.
EuPR and EPRO worked in collaboration with European Plastic Converters (EuPC), Recovinyl, Cyclos GmbH and a number of plastic recycling companies to perform the first pilot audits at factory level.
In order to be awarded EuCertPlast certification, recyclers must first adhere to a long list of requirements.
“For instance, we will look to ensure they hold the correct permits,” said Furfari. “We will also look at how they control waste, the way they run their plants and recycling output, how they handle waste and how they dispose of waste water.”
“There are a lot of things that they must keep to,” Furfari added.
“Some systems will take it on very quickly and, hopefully, others will follow in coming years. Obviously they cannot change the way they work overnight,” Furfari concluded.