EuPR: Plastics recyclers could offer 50.000 new jobs in the EU

On 4th October 2010 Danish MEP Anna Rosbach hosted an EuPR dinner in the European Parliament attended over 30 participants to debate the issue of exports of plastics waste. Several EU officials from the EU Commission and MEPS attended this dinner and listened to the requests of plastics recyclers to limit the EU exports of plastics waste and increase material resource efficiency in Europe.

EuPR President Bernard Merkx presented the 10 action points that could be taken up by the EU and National authorities in order to increase plastics mechanical recycling in the Europe. "Today more than 2/3 of the total plastics waste is exported outside of the EU" according to Bernard Merkx, the EuPR President. "Plastics recyclers have invested a lot in new equipment, sorting lines and additional capacities but the development of these exports may jeopardize these investments."

Plastics converters want to use more recyclates
According to Alexandre Dangis, EuPC (European Plastics Converters) Managing Director, plastics converters do want to use more recyclates which are saving large quantities of CO2, 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 can access better 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.

The EuPR President added that if Europe wants 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. An additional 50.000 direct employment could result of a change in policies by member States if they agree to limit these exports. Recyclers are NOT asking for any financial assistants but request the waste flows to be treated in Europe to create additional jobs in Europe.

Plastics recyclers are also keen in bringing their knowledge and offer solutions to the problem of plastics and marine litter. Several recyclers are willing to treat such waste and look into the market potential in Europe to reuse these mixed fractions.

MEP Anna Rosbach concluded the dinner debate by offering her assistance to the plastics recyclers and EuPR in trying to convince her fellow MEPs and EU Commission officials to shift from a net exporter of plastics waste to a treatment of mechanical plastics recycling in the EU and work more towards a sustainable plastics recycling industry in the EU. She welcomed the opportunity to work with plastics recyclers on the challenges of Marine litter to save guard our seas and Oceans for our future generations.