Regulation is essential to create stability in supply and demand for recycled raw materials as well as boosting development of the recycling industry, members of the Bureau of International Recycling have been told.
BIR plastics committee chairman Henk Alssema reminded the convention in Amsterdam that the market was under pressure because of rapidly declining demand for recycled materials.
He said many companies were using the opportunity afforded by low prime prices to abandon the recycled option. Availability of cheap alternatives to recycled material was ‘throwing the loop’, agreed committee member Sally Houghton of the Plastic Recycling Corporation of California.
The meeting’s guest speaker Caroline van der Perre, md of Belgium-based recycler RAFF Plastics said some companies were now switching back to primary. ‘We have invested a lot to increase our recycling capacity and now we are struggling to keep all our lines running.’
Pointing out that rPET as the only resin to have decoupled from prime owing to the increasing use of mandates for recycled content, Max Craipeau of China-based Greencore Resources lamented: ‘Even with those mandates, you see the brands switching back to virgin PET’.
Former committee chairman Surendra Patawari Borad of Gemini Corporation in Belgium expressed concern that, despite all the focus on the subject, the plastics recycling rate ‘is in single digits – and it’s coming down’.