03/11/2013

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EuPC + PlasticsEurope: European plastics industry on the Commission's Green Paper on Plastic Waste in the Environment - Paving the way towards zero landfill by 2020

The European plastics industry welcomes the Commission's Green Paper on Plastic Waste as a catalyst for joint action amongst different key players to achieve the vision of ‘Zero Plastics to Landfill by 2020'. The plastics industry supports alternative solutions to the landfilling of plastics waste and to maintain plastics in the circular economy for as long as possible. Every year in Europe, 10 million tonnes of post-consumer plastic waste are buried in landfills. Instead of landfilling, these plastics could be a resource for recycling and energy recovery. While voluntary initiatives are indeed very effective in many cases, a ban on the landfilling of plastics waste will undoubtedly show positive results sooner.

"The review of the Landfill Directive in 2014 offers an opportunity to make a step-change in the EU´s resource efficiency policy. The inclusion of a landfill ban on plastics waste in the Directive will stimulate the plastic recycling sector and will make more plastic waste available for efficient energy recovery to produce electricity and heat. This ultimately leads to the creation of jobs and helps Europe to be less dependent on energy imports", said Dr Wilfried Haensel, Executive Director of PlasticsEurope.

The European plastics industry believes that it can work with EU and national legislators in order to bring about better environmental policy when it comes to plastics and waste management. For this reason, it shall be responding to the Green Paper and providing detailed information on our vision towards increased sustainability of plastic products.

Speaking at the Waste Free Oceans conference, on ‘Public & Private Solutions to Marine Litter' held in Brussels on March 7th, EuPC's Managing Director Alexandre Dangis welcomed the launch of the Green Paper and commented as follows: "At times when future polymer sourcing for European plastics converters remains unpredictable, and uncertain, there is a clear need to optimise the collection and sorting of plastics waste in order for the plastics industry to be more resource efficient. The need to incorporate more plastics recyclates in final applications will only increase the sustainability of plastics products. We are looking forward to analysing further the proposal of the Commission and discussing opportunities within the plastics value chain."

Zero landfilling will also help prevent plastics from reaching the marine environment. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 80% of all marine litter originates from land. Better waste management would be one important step to reduce marine litter.

The European plastics industry is determined to work together with other key players in order to tackle problems of plastics in the environment and to build on the Commission's Green Paper initiative.

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