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Industry must set standards quality for recycled plastic

Alliance to End Plastic Waste e Eunomia Research and Consulting call for the rapid adoption of quality standards for recycled plastic

(sustainabilityenvironment.com) – The quality of recycled plastic in Europe is too low and prevents the growth of the circular economy. This is a topic well known to industry and industry, but information struggles to pass to the general public. Indeed, although encouraging data are often provided on the growth of recycling and the increase in secondary raw materials in the various production sectors, this process is very slow.

That’s why the Alliance to End Plastic Waste and Eunomia Research and Consulting have launched an appeal. They call for the rapid adoption of quality standards for recycled plastic, which must be imposed on the entire supply chain. “One obstacle to promoting the circular plastic economy is reaching a clear agreement on the specifications of the materials that recyclers can produce and what the industry can use,” explained Andy Grant, technical director of Eunomia.

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Without an improvement in the quality of the materials, the increase in ambition imposed by the regulations risks creating only frustrations. The directive on packaging and packaging waste (PPWR) proposed by the European Commission will be a stimulus, but we need an agreement on standards. The lack of harmonized quality requirements today inhibits the optimization of sorting and recycling infrastructures. The industry should therefore work towards a unified approach to the development of quality guidelines for recycled plastic. Eunomia and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste have identified the steps that companies should take:

  • involve brand owners, retailers and other stakeholders along the supply chain to support the finalisation of technical work on the guidelines;
  • conducting industrial tests to validate the quality of recycled material required for the various types of packaging;
  • contribute to ongoing certification initiatives, such as the upcoming CEN and CENELEC standards;
  • offer clear and systematic guidelines to facilitate implementation, supporting industry actors in their efforts to work towards global standards.

With the implementation of these measures, the dossier argues, the plastics industry can significantly increase the use of recycled content in products.

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