25. August 2022
The trade association Plastics Europe has published the report Circular Economy for Plastics – A European Overview 2020. The report summarises all the key figures relating to plastic production, plastic use in products and plastic recycling or waste for 2020, covering the EU member states plus Norway, Switzerland and the UK.
As in the previous publications, the EPRO association actively participated in providing the necessary database. EPRO is the European Association of Plastics Recycling and Recovery Organisations and RIGK is an active member.
As a positive conclusion, we are generally seeing a trend towards more recycling management in the area of plastics. Nevertheless, the report sees shortcomings in the pace and rates of increase with regard to more recycling and resource conservation. In order to achieve the ambitious EU climate targets set out in Glasgow and Paris for climate-neutral production in the EU by 2050, the authors estimate that development will not be sufficient.
Compared to previous years, positive developments can be seen with regard to resource conservation. Between 2018 and 2020, the production of primary plastics decreased by 10.3%, while at the same time, the amount of post-consumer plastic waste sent for recycling increased by 8.5%. Volumes sent to landfills decreased by 4.3% and energetic recovery remained constant for the first time since 2006.
As a result, the supply of post-consumer recycled plastics increased by 11% compared to 2018, and their use in new products increased by 15% from approximately 4 million tonnes to 4.6 million tonnes.
This shows an initial shift towards a higher proportion of recycled plastics in the manufacturing of new products (from 7.2% in 2018 to 8.5% in 2020). These are indeed positive figures, however, they are still far from the targets that have been set.
A key point for RIGK is the importance of separated collections to increase the recycling rate and this is also clearly emphasised in the report. In order to recycle different types of waste, they must be carefully separated beforehand. Separate collection helps to pre-sort the waste and is a way of ensuring that other types of waste do not interfere with the process.
Another advantage of our take-back systems for plastic packaging from the industrial, commercial and agricultural sectors is that the recycling rate for plastic waste is 13 times higher when the waste is collected separately than compared to mixed collection systems.
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