Plastic packaging: European manufacturers ready to incorporate 30% recycled content

Producers of plastic packaging support the European Commission’s proposal to incorporate 30% recycled material by 2030.

European plastics manufacturers declared themselves Thursday for the first time in favor of the obligation to incorporate 30% recycled content in plastic packaging by 2030, in order to respect the objectives of the green pact of the European Commission.

We welcome the revision of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, key European legislation for the plastics sector’s transition to a circular economy” said a press release from PlasticsEurop, the European plastics manufacturers lobby, which brings together around 100 companies producing more than 90% of all polymers in Europe.

A harmonized European political framework

European producers say they are in favor of the European Commission’s proposal to introduce an obligation to incorporate recycled material into plastic packaging and call for a rate of 30% by 2030. This commitment is based on the development of chemical plastic recycling, where European manufacturers plan to invest 7.2 billion euros by 2030 in new technologies and installations making it possible to produce 3.4 million tonnes of plastic from chemical recycling per year.

We cannot do all of this alone, we need to make concerted efforts with the European institutions and the entire value chain to achieve the goal” warned Virginia Jansses, Managing Director of PlasticsEurope in a statement to AFP. “We need a harmonized European political framework that gives visibility and encourages more investment in infrastructure and technologies for collection, sorting and recycling, including chemicals” she added.

We have to make sure that the recycled content comes from all available waste. This requires technological neutrality, which takes into account both mechanical (traditional) and chemical recycling” said the president of PlasticsEurop and CEO of the German chemical group Covestro, Markus Steilemann, quoted in the press release. The commitment of manufacturers leaves the environmental association Zero Waste unmoved, which campaigns against all waste. Focusing on the incorporation of recycled materials is to shift the problem of plastic pollution. “What is needed is first to work on reducing the production and consumption of plastic at source, and on developing reusable packaging solutions”, reacted Moïra Trouneur, manager the advocacy of the NGO for France. “Because we cannot recycle 100% of plastic, a bottle cannot remake a bottle, we always need to add virgin material, so recycling plastic over the long term is not sustainable” she added, “since petroleum is always needed to be able to use recycled plastic”.