Circular Economy

Only 13.5% of new products come from circular plastic

According to new Plastics Europe report, incinerators are the first enemies of circular plastic

) – 13.5% of new European plastic products come from the circular economy. Significant data, but not sufficient that contained in the new report of Plastics Europe. The data collected by the Community Association of Polymer Producers provides an overview of the production, processing, consumption and management of plastic waste in Europe. There is also an analysis of non-fossil plastic production and recycling technologies.

The development of circular plastics in the EU is halfway towards a key goal: to use 25% plastic from circular sources in new products on the continent by 2030. There are important challenges that will jeopardise progress towards this target. The rate of incineration with energy recovery increases (+15% since 2018), which subtracts plastic waste that could be recycled.

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Virginia Janssens, CEO of Plastics Europe, was not soft in her judgment. “Although the data confirms that the shift towards circularity is firmly established and accelerating, It is frustrating that we still incinerate so much plastic waste when this potential raw material is desperately needed by our industry to accelerate the transition. Without urgent actions to increase the availability of all circular raw materials, we cannot maintain the current pace of progress and realize the ambitions of our roadmap”.

In total, 26.9% of European plastic waste is now recycled, meaning that, for the first time, more plastic waste is recycled than landfilled. However, to meet the growing demand for plastic produced from circular raw materials, it is necessary to massively increase the collection and selection of waste, as well as the availability of biomass and carbon capture.

The largest demand for circular plastics comes from the packaging, construction and agriculture sectors. However, other industries, including automotive and electronics, are lagging behind. As of 2022, the latest data collected from the dossier, almost all recycled plastics come from mechanical recycling and are worth 13.2% of all plastics produced. Only 1% comes from organic raw materials and 0.1% from chemical recycling.

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