Chinese import ban: plastics recyclers see urgent need for common solution

Ton Emans (Source:PRE)
29.09.2017 − 

Worldwide the waste plastics market is in a state of turmoil. The import restrictions announced by China this summer and which are due to go into effect in 2018 are already creating a surplus of low quality plastic waste in Europe. Ton Emans, president of Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE), sees the abrupt change in market conditions bringing the waste management industry “back to reality” after years without a vision for the value chain.

The low-quality waste plastic grades that had been exported to China were badly collected and poorly sorted and could not be totally absorbed in the EU. The material did not meet the quality requirements of the European recyclers, PRE explained. There was urgency needed to implement a real and sustainable waste market in Europe. Above all, quality needed to be improved, said the industry group representing Europe’s plastic recycling businesses.

Companies in the EU would not be in a position to recycle these new increased quantities overnight. “Nevertheless, industry, policy makers and society must now urgently bring a common solution to the table to allow immediate implementation of enhanced design for recycling, harmonised collection and investment in highly efficient sorting centres in order to increase the EU’s recycling capacity,” argued PRE.

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