13.5 percent of new plastics in Europe are made from recycled materials

22 March 2024 14:48

Brussels - European plastic producers need to do more, according to a new report published by Plastics Europe. In 2022, 13.5 percent of European plastics were produced in a circular economy. The industry aims to increase that number to 25 percent in 2030 and 65 percent by 2050. 

Europeans are reducing the amount of virgin materials they need to make plastic, but they must do more to encourage a larger circular economy for recycled plastic products, according to Plastics Europe, a trade group that published a new report, “Circular Economy for Plastics – A European Analysis” on March 19. 

Circular materials produced 13.5 percent of new plastic products made in Europe in 2022, the report found. The industry, meanwhile, aims to increase that number to 25 percent by 2030 and 65 percent by 2050. Furthermore, 26.9 percent of plastic waste in Europe is now recycled. More waste is being recycled than dumped into a landfill.

But the report concludes that Europe must decrease its dependency on fossil feedstocks in favor of reusing and recycling plastic, sustainably sourced bio-based feedstock, and CO2 captured from industrial operations. The report aims to help businesses, policymakers, and consumers understand how to make that shift.

The report also found that incinerators now burned 15 percent more plastics in 2022 than in 2018, removing plastics that might have been recycled out of the circular economy while increasing greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. Europe is also importing more plastic from foreign sources that likely are not circular.

“Whilst the data confirms the shift to circularity is firmly established and picking up pace, it is frustrating that we still incinerate so much plastics waste when this potential feedstock is desperately needed by our industry to accelerate the transition,” said Virginia Janssens, managing director of Plastics Europe, in a press release. ce/jd

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