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‘Politicians are moving in a circle, not the economy’

The Netherlands – The annual turnover of almost EUR 350 billion was linked to more than 1.5 million jobs in the European plastics sector in 2015, said Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy at the Plastics Recyclers Europe conference in Amsterdam yesterday. The impact of plastics recycling on the economy was growing, added the member of European Parliament. ‘And this despite the fact that, sadly, politicians are moving in a circle, not the economy.’

‘We need legislative muscle to move forward,’ Gerbrandy urged. ‘We are gathered here the day after Trump decided to destroy the climate plan set up by his predecessor Obama. Sustainability has never been a priority for the new US president – let’s just hope that he will be just as effective in his climate policy as in his healthcare policy,’ the MEP told delegates.

He proclaimed that, as united front, the recycling industry can show him and other politicians like him that sustainability isn’t something you can ‘sweep under the rug’.

Gerbrandy noted that even current first vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, was once sceptical of ‘overly strict’ eco-design rules such as the idea to regulate the energy efficiency of household appliances.

‘He jokingly called this the Vacuum Cleaner Directive,’ the MEP recalls. ‘Now he knows better; Timmermans is specifically calling for more ambitious waste legislation across the EU,’ Gerbrandy went on to state.

‘And so I have one request to all of you; please put pressure on your country’s policymakers. We need them to be willing to act,’ the MEP stressed. The European plastics recycling sector saves the amount of energy Italy consumes in a year. This equals 1.3 billion barrels of oil, Gerbrandy explained.

‘The thing is, facts can be forgotten. But, luckily, awareness is on the rise,’ he concluded.

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