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Design for “Chemical Recycling” kills innovation upstream

The design of "chemical recycling" killed the innovation of upstream

For immediate release: Brussels, July 8, 2021

Zero Waste Europe, together with RPa and ECOS, released a report aimed at real recycling rather than plastic lock-in.

Even if 40% of plastic packaging is reported as recycled in the EU, the effective recycling rate is about 10-15%. It is estimated that only 5% of the value of plastic packaging materials is retained in the economy.

Why? Because most plastic packaging today is not designed for reuse and recycling or recyclability, even though they claim to be. In addition, more and more plastic products are marketed with misleading claims about recyclability, and products that claim to be recyclable are not always recycled.

In order for them to be recyclable and recyclable, they need to be designed for mechanical recycling and have an effective collection and sorting system throughout the EU.

Janek Vähk, Climate, Energy and Air Pollution Coordinator for Zero Waste Europe said:

The "chemical recycling design" jeopardizes the actual recyclability of plastics and prevents the phasing out of difficult-to-recycle plastics. Considering the serious impact on the environment, lack of infrastructure and unproven efficiency, chemical recycling should be the last resort."

Therefore, a unified and enforceable definition and standard for the recyclability of plastics must be established on the basis of true recycling, that is, existing, extensive and large-scale operations. The EU must avoid diversion of plastics for chemical recycling by ensuring that plastics are reused or designed for mechanical recycling. We must design products that are handled through sustainable, efficient and low-carbon operations.

We must first design products that can be handled through sustainable, efficient, and low-carbon operations.

we recommend:

Establish a clear and unified definition of recyclability, combining qualitative definitions, quantitative standards and implementation legislation. These legislations stipulate recycling design standards to strengthen the implementation of the basic requirements in the revised PPWD directive, supplemented by clear incentives and ecological adjustment costs System restrictions ensure that recyclability is evaluated according to the best available technology in terms of "waste recycling level", that is, mechanical recycling is prioritized, and plastic waste streams that do not compete with other technologies are replaced by the "green dot" and the recyclability statement is strengthened by introducing mandatory Sexual, traceable label for consumers

“There is a need to vigorously promote true recycling design to prepare reusable and recycled plastics according to the most environmentally friendly options, and avoid carbon-intensive processing such as pyrolysis and gasification. Vähk said that plastic packaging should be designed for mechanical recycling, And has an effective collection and classification system throughout the European Union.

The full report can be read here.


Media contact

Janek Vähk, European Zero Waste Climate, Energy and Air Pollution Coordinator

Berta Corredor, European Zero Waste Press Officer | +32 471965593

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About the latest post

Joint Press Release: The Broad Alliance urges the European Parliament to protect consumers from dangerous or illegal products sold through Amazon and AliExpress' online marketplace. -15/07/2021 "Chemical recycling" design stifles upstream innovation-12/07/2021 Harmful chemicals in food packaging put our health at risk-29/06/2021

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