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Industry welcomes European Commission plastic waste plan

By: EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

March 8, 2013

BRUSSELS — European plastics industry bodies Plastics Recyclers Europe, PlasticsEurope and European Plastic Converters (EuPC) have all welcomed a new Green Paper that will trigger discussions on dealing with plastics waste.

Plastics Recyclers Europe said the European Commission's Green Paper is a "starting point" towards increased sustainability and that a landfill ban, recycling targets and eco-design are all solutions that will increase recycling.

Today, the total annual production of European plastics recyclers can only cover a maximum of two weeks of the yearly European plastics consumption, according to the Brussels-based plastics recyclers' trade group.

"This situation is no longer sustainable," said President To Emans. "Policy makers, industry and society in general must act in order to change this situation."

PlasticsEurope and European Plastic Converters (EuPC) also welcomed the paper. Wilfried Haensel, executive director of PlasticsEurope, said 10 million metric tons of post-consumer plastic waste are buried in landfills every year. While voluntary initiatives are indeed very effective in many cases, a ban on the landfilling plastics waste will undoubtedly show positive results sooner, he said.

EuPC managing director Alexandre Dangis also welcomed the launch of the Green Paper. "At times when future polymer sourcing for European plastics converters remains unpredictable, and uncertain, there is a clear need to optimize the collection and sorting of plastics waste in order for the plastics industry to be more resource efficient," he said.

European environment commissioner Janez Potočnik said that even though managing plastic waste is a major challenge, it is also an opportunity for resource efficiency.

"In a circular economy where high recycling rates offer solutions to material scarcity, I believe plastic has a future," he said.