So Europe is taking action against single-use packaging and virgin plastics. Only on 30th of November, the EU Commission made public a proposal to reduce the packaging waste generated in Europe and to promote efficient recycling. The proposed revision of EU law has three main objectives:
- The amount of unnecessary packaging put into circulation should be reduced overall and reusable solutions should be promoted.
- By 2030, all packaging on the EU market should become economically recyclable.
- The demand for primary raw materials is to be reduced and a well-functioning market for secondary raw materials created. This is to be achieved through binding targets for the use of recycled plastics.
"After tackling single use plastics, we now take the next step on our way to a future without pollution
. Our proposals today reduce packaging waste, promote reuse and refill, increase the use of recycled plastics, and make it easier to recycle packaging," said Frank Timmermanns, Executive Vice President for the European Green Deal. Although it will still take a while before the Commission's proposal is cast into binding law, the push from Europe certainly has a signal effect
In fact, according to a report by Plastics Europe, around 20 per cent more recycled plastic was used in new products this year compared to 2020. So the industry is already on the right track
. There is also hope in an expansion of chemical recycling
. "If we want to make our industry fit for the future, the acceptance of chemical recycling including the mass balance approach is essential to accelerate the dual transformation of our industry. More intensive and coordinated cooperation
across the value chains and with policymakers is key to making this happen," said Virginia Janssens, Managing Director of Plastics Europe in October.
All in all, the industry has had an eventful year. It was able to hold its own against many adversities and overcome the first shocks after the beginning of the year.
Challenges such as high energy prices still exist and will certainly cause problems in the coming winter. But the pandemic also appeared to be an almost impregnable challenge at the beginning and the industry still made it through. After all, one thing is certain: Where there’s goods, there’ll be packaging