The European Commission has launched a new alliance of key industry stakeholders covering the full plastics value chain as part of its efforts to increase the share of recycled plastics and stimulate market innovation in the EU. With this new platform, the Commission wants to contribute to the bloc’s plastic strategy target of achieving at least 10 million tonnes of recycled plastics into new products on the EU market by 2025.
It is also hoped that the Circular Plastics Alliance will help to improve the economics and quality of plastics recycling in Europe, against the backdrop of the bloc’s efforts to transition towards a circular economy.
According to the Commission, the Alliance will strengthen the match between supply and demand for recycled plastics which is identified by the Commission as the main obstacle to a well-functioning EU market of recycled plastic.
The EU executive also hopes the Alliance will help to combat the issue of plastic pollution that enters the marine environment. This was highlighted effectively by David Attenborough’s BBC series Blue Planet II earlier this year and has prompted consumers and politicians to act to tackle the problem of plastic littering.
European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans (@TimmermansEU) said: “Close cooperation within and between all the links in the plastics value chain is essential if we are to achieve a true circular plastics economy and ensure that recycled plastics find their way to new products, instead of into landfill or the incinerators.”
He went on to say that the Alliance would aim to build on the commitments the plastic industry had already made and encourage “even more ambitious action”.
Vice President responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen (@jyrkikatainen), added: “European industry has already clearly committed to more sustainable plastics with the pledges that they have submitted to the Commission. Business understands this is an opportunity to innovate and to become global frontrunners in new technology and materials, in line with circular economy logic.
“The platform that we are setting up today will encourage cooperation and dialogue between market operators, both on the supply and the demand side, so that we can together build a well-functioning market for recycled plastics.”
In December 2015, the Juncker Commission adopted a new circular economy package to help European businesses and consumers to make the transition to a stronger and more circular economy where resources are used in a more sustainable way.
In January 2018, the EU executive adopted its first-every Europe-wide plastics strategy as part of the transition towards a more circular economy. It aims to protect the environment from plastic pollution, while fostering growth and innovation. Under the strategy, all plastic packaging on the EU market will be recyclable by 2030.
As part of this strategy on plastics, the Commission launched a voluntary pledges campaign and is currently assessing the received pledges by industry.