June 1, 2018

Single-use plastics proposal: a missed opportunity to ensure the uptake of recycled plastics?

FEAD welcomes the publication, earlier this week, of the Commission’s proposal related to single-use plastics, aimed at reducing their impact on the environment1.

Our industry sees it as another step towards a more circular economy. The private waste and resources management industry plays a key role in making this progress by collecting, sorting, preparing waste and, finally, providing high quality recycled materials and green energy for Europe’s manufacturers and consumers. But an even stronger leadership from EU policy makers is needed to provide the right legal framework and market signals. The necessary investments for a more circular economy, creating many more jobs in Europe while making our economy more resilient and resource efficient, will be done by our companies only if there is enough economic visibility.

Consequently, FEAD members deeply regret that the text failed to embed, in this last legislative proposal of the term, a commitment towards legally binding proposals on recycled content in selected products.

FEAD President Jean-Marc Boursier: “Large investments will be needed to innovate and expand the separate collection, sorting and recycling capacity at EU level (4 times more compared with 2015, as estimated by the Commission). Our industry is prepared to make the necessary investments if there are legislative measures ensuring economic visibility on a significant uptake of plastic recyclates. Most new “green” markets” need strong pull measures to take off, to this extent recycling plastics is not an exception”.

A strong demand for recycled plastics will only result from concrete binding rules, accompanied by economic measures to bridge the price gap detrimental to plastics from recyclates. Raising the collection performance of plastic bottles through deposit schemes or extended producer responsibility (ERP) is very important, but it will not be sufficient to create a solid European demand for recycled materials.

Therefore, we urge the EU decision makers to make sure that the finally adopted Directive foresees that the Commission will come up with a proposal on binding recycled content for selected products by 2025.

For further information please contact the FEAD Secretariat:

1 Proposal for a Directive on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment