Plastics industry: Faster progress towards a circular economy necessary

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Plastics Europe has released a new report entitled "A Circular Economy for Plastics" presenting the findings of market research carried out by Conversio. It provides a detailed overview of plastics flows, specifically production, conversion, consumption, waste management, recycling, and use of recycled plastics in Europe in 2020. Among the key findings of the report was that more still needed to be done "to accelerate the overall circularity of plastics".

According to Plastics Europe, the industry recognises and supports the need for faster systemic change. It notes that "investments in new technologies continue to accelerate”, as European plastics manufacturers plan to invest €7.2bn by 2030 in chemical recycling to complement mechanical recycling.

The report points out there has been progress towards a circular economy in recent years, for example, the volume of post-consumer plastic waste sent to recycling facilities has more than doubled compared to 2006. Despite the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the recycling rate for post-consumer plastic waste increased by 2 percentage points between 2018 to 2020 to reach 35 per cent of collection volumes across the EU27+3 (includes Switzerland, Norway and the UK). In 2020, 46 per cent of plastic packaging waste was recycled, according to the report. Using the new calculation methodology, this equates to a recycling rate of 32 per cent. The use of recycled plastics in new products grew by 15 per cent to 4.6 million tonnes. The report focuses on 2020 data. However, the packaging consumption and waste data used were extrapolated from 2019 figures....

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