Europe – The plastic recycling rate for Europe as a whole is ‘far too low’ at 24%, European Commissioner for Environment Janez PotoÄnik told a recent conference. He also highlighted the importance of a ‘switch from energy recovery to increased recycling’.
According to Mr PotoÄnik, even in countries with high recovery rates there is ‘simply not enough plastic available for recycling’ because about half of it goes into energy recovery. ‘A dominance of energy recovery over recycling is not acceptable in the medium term,’ he insisted. The volume of plastics wasting away in European landfills ‘is broadly the equivalent of 12 million tons of crude oil’ dumped every year.
In line with the European strategy for 2020, Mr PotoÄnik stated: ‘We need to achieve real and absolute decoupling of economic growth from resource use and pollution. The plastic industry must play a full part in this process.’ This means a move away from a ‘throw-away society’ and a leap towards a circular economy.
Although recycling technology has moved forward at a rapid pace, it still ‘has some way to go’, he remarked. ‘Whereas – thanks to EU legislation – about 85% of every car is now recycled, only about 25% of every new car is built with recycled materials, and much of this difference is down to plastic. Too often plastic is down-cycled, not recycled.’
Hoping to ‘trigger a reflection’ regarding the current state of affairs, Mr PotoÄnik announced he is planning shortly to launch a broad debate on plastics specifically focused on resource efficiency issues.
To read the entire speech, visit: http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/12/632&format=HTML
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