European Plastics Recyclers Discuss Plastic Scrap Exports

European plastics recyclers concerned over the export of plastic scrap to China.

November 9, 2010
Recycling Today Staff
Municipal / IC&I Legislation & Regulations Plastics Paper

Representatives from the European Plastics Recyclers (EuPR) recently held a dinner meeting with members of the European Parliament to discuss and debate the issue of exporting scrap plastic.

Bernard Merkx, EuPR president, presented the 10 action points that the group says should be taken up by the EU and national authorities in order to increase plastics mechanical recycling in the Europe.

“Today, more than two-thirds of the total plastics waste is exported outside of the EU” Merkx says. Plastics recyclers have invested a lot in new equipment, sorting lines and additional capacities, but the development of these exports may jeopardize these investments.

Alexandre Dangis, managing director of the European Plastics Converters (EuPC), says that plastics converters want to use more scrap plastics, but they need steady supply of waste to produce quality materials to replace virgin plastics in certain applications.

“This can only be achieved if mechanical plastics recyclers in Europe have better access to the European waste flow and develop quality materials for reuse into final products. If EU politicians think seriously about resource efficiency, they should amend the existing EU packaging waste directive and ask member states to report only plastics material recycling in Europe and count the export volumes,” Dangis says.

Merkx notes that if Europe is seeking to create more (green) jobs in the European Union, they should listen to plastics recyclers and help them to keep good waste material flows for treatment in the EU. “These materials belong to the EU citizens. It has been paid for and is a resource for Europe that will make us less dependent of virgin raw materials.”

 According to Merkx, an additional 50,000 jobs could result from a change in policies by member states if they agree to limit these exports.