Plastic Recyclers Europe sees dire situation
The Brussels-based PRE says the plastic recycling supply chain in Europe is threatened by the current economic circumstances.
Photo by Brian Taylor.

Plastic Recyclers Europe sees dire situation

Organization says consumers of plastic scrap are not operating at sufficient capacity.

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May 15, 2020

The Brussels-based Plastic Recyclers Europe (PRE) organization says the demand for plastic scrap has been dramatically affected by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and much of Europe’s plastic recycling industry “is closing production due to the current market developments.”

According to PRE, “The major problems are the lack of demand due to the closure of converting plants and the record low prices of virgin plastics, as well as decreased activity globally.”

Comments Ton Emans, PRE president, “If the situation is to persist and no actions are taken to remedy the sector, plastics recycling will cease to be profitable, hampering the attainment of the EU recycling targets and putting in jeopardy the transition towards circular plastics. In such a case, recyclable plastic [scrap] will have no alternatives but to be sent to landfill or incineration.”

PRE says it foresees damage to the plastic recycling market as consisting of both “grave environmental consequences” and “far-reaching socioeconomic impacts due to the extensive employment in the [scrap] management value chain.”

The association says the EU and its member states should include recycling as a sector supported by economic recovery plans—a step that will be needed “to continue implementing the measures under the Circular Economy umbrella.”

Concludes PRE, “Safeguarding the positive developments within this market is essential to reduce Europe’s use of virgin plastics and, therefore, for the survival of the secondary raw materials market as well as further investments in the sector.”