Increased collections of plastic waste to reduce environmental damage and preserve valuable resources was a key theme of the annual meeting of Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE) in Portugal in mid-October.
Ton Emans, PRE president, said: ‘With the endorsement of the new recycling target and the Plastic Strategy, this year marked a turning point for our industry. Increasing recycling rates in Europe is a reality.’ But he warned: ‘This cannot be achieved without high collection rates and high quality of plastic waste.’
Under the heading: ‘Increased collection: cornerstone for higher recycling rates’ delegates debated recycling rates, current and best practice in waste collection as well as legislative measures to harmonise waste management. The two key speakers were Kestutis Sadauskas from the European Commission and José Inácio Faria from the European Parliament.
Suffering from low quality competition
Delegates agreed that high quality recovered materials are indispensable in the production of high value raw secondary materials. European plastics recyclers complying with EU regulations and standards often cry foul about competitors importing low quality products made with poor quality secondary materials and under inferior manufacturing conditions.
PRE is calling for an overhaul of practices around waste exports, landfilling, incineration, lack of transparency and the rules for waste trading. It says better collection schemes must be framed alongside other measures such as smarter designs for recycling products, stronger recycling & sorting standards as well as stimulating the uptake of recyclates.
Plastics Recyclers Europe wants EU institutions to drive the transformation of waste management practices in Europe. ‘Revamping our collection systems will help locking valuable resources and limit the negative environmental impacts,’ it says.
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