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Plastics Recyclers Europe unveils 3-pronged recycling approach

By Joe Whitworth , 29-Nov-2012
Last updated on 29-Nov-2012 at 13:44 GMT2012-11-29T13:44:46Z

Plastics Recyclers Europe is pursuing a ban on plastics waste in landfill, higher recycling targets and more eco-design for products.

The trade group, formerly known as EuPR gives three recommendations that should lead to fundamental actions to increase the recycling of post-consumer plastics waste in Europe.

It said that legislation may be required based on experience from past years in order to move closer to a sustainable ‘recycling society’ and that manufacturers need to be accountable for the impact of their product on the environment.

Landfill waste

The first recommendation focuses around a ban of plastics waste on landfill to maximise its availability for recycling.

EuPR recommends having progressive equal taxes on landfill based on each national situation,” said the group in its strategy paper.

“In a second step, a harmonised EU tax should apply across Europe.”

Recycling emphasis

The organisation said only 24% of plastics are collected for recycling in Europe and called for more emphasis on plastic collection and recycling.

“The future revised waste directives must integrate specific recycling targets for plastics.

“Furthermore, these targets should move away from a focus on collection to a real objective on recycling in order to stimulate industrial investment in Europe.”

End-of-life aspect

Plastics Recyclers Europe said assessment of end-of-life aspects should be one of the key criteria in the first stages of a product’s conception and design.

The design of plastic products needs refinement in order for them to serve longer and for their life cycle to become more valuable as products become more easily recyclable.

“The organisations behind the new product design play a crucial role in its conception, as such a product will be eventually destined as an input material for the mechanical recycling industry.”

There are five high-volume plastics, including polyethylene (such as low density (LDPE), linear low density (LLDPE) and high density (HDPE)), polypropylene (PP), polyvinylchloride (PVC), polystyrene (solid PS and expandable EPS) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

These account for around 75% of all plastics demand in Europe, according to the Plastics Facts report 2012 by EuPR, EuPC, PlasticsEurope and EPRO, with the packaging industry remaining the biggest end-user at 39.4%.

Tons Emans, EuPR president, said: “EuPR is willing to cooperate with all market stakeholders and policy makers in order to achieve better post-consumer plastics recycling opportunities to move towards a ‘real recycling society’ and ‘resource efficient society’.

“With our new branding “Plastics Recyclers Europe” we aim at demonstrating that an important sector in the plastics industry is growing with its own identity and that this sector can stimulate positive growth in Europe in terms of jobs and welfare.”

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