The market for recycled plastics is feeling the impact of the coronavirus epidemic, says Plastics Recyclers Europe, the European association for the plastics recycling industry.
Businesses are halting production due to a lack of demand, the low prices of virgin plastics and the general collapse of activity globally.
According to Ton Emans, the association’s president, the situation is precarious.
If it persists and no actions are taken to remedy the sector, he said that 'plastics recycling will cease to be profitable, hampering the attainment of the EU recycling targets and putting in jeopardy the transition towards circular plastics'.
He added that this would lead to a situation where "recyclable plastic waste will have no alternatives but to be sent to landfill or incineration."
Next to the environmental effects, the socio-economic impact would also be considerable: the plastics recycling industry is a major employer in the waste management value chain.
The industry is therefore calling on the EU and the Member States to include recycling as one of the sectors supported by their Recovery Plans and to continue implementing the measures under the Circular Economy umbrella.
Safeguarding the positive developments within this market is essential to reduce Europe’s use of virgin plastics and, therefore, for the survival of the secondary raw materials market as well as further investments in the sector.