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The Impact of Europe’s Ban on Single-use Plastic on the Plastic Industry and Its Value Chain

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by - 8/26/2020 3177 Views

Europe is all set to bid adieu to its throwaway culture and eliminate single-use plastic by 2021

As an effort to join hands in creating a sustainable environment, Europe starts its countdown on banning single-use plastics such as cutlery, plates, stirring sticks, balloon holders, straws, and cotton buds, as well as polystyrene cups and boxes. The actual start to set a ban on single-use plastics by the EU was scheduled in April, but it’s delayed by six months due to the coronavirus outbreak. The products that are to be banned by the European Union by 2021 are,

  • Single-use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks)
  • Single-use plastic plates
  • Plastic straws
  • Cotton bud sticks made of plastic
  • Plastic balloon sticks
  • Oxo-degradable plastics and food containers and expanded polystyrene cups

According to their new recycling target, the member states will have to achieve a 90% collection target for plastic bottles by 2029, and plastic bottles will have to contain at least 25% of recycled content by 2025 and 30% by 2030. This action on plastics is made to step up the measures to help European businesses and consumers to use resources in a more effective way.

The European Commission states that more than 80% of marine litter found is plastic. This became the wakeup call for this new legislative model to avoiding plastic accumulation in the ocean and protecting marine species from plastic residues. They have got this, and they are in their way of introducing new measures to reduce the use of plastic food containers and plastic lids for hot drinks.

Plastic Waste Treatment in Europe

About 30% of the total plastic wastes collected in Europe is recycled, whereas half of the total plastic wastes collected is exported outside the country. The export rate of plastic was high due to the limitations in managing capacity, technology resources, or financial resources to treat the waste locally. But, China’s ban on plastic waste import three years ago came as a massive blow to Europe’s plastic waste export, and the country is looking for alternative measures. Most of the plastic waste from the EU goes to countries like India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, and more. But, an important concern with this is that the waste treatment sector in most of these countries is still in its infancy.

Impact on Europe’s Plastic Waste Recycling

China banned the import of 24 varieties of solid waste, including types of plastic and unsorted paper, to curb it’s appetite for foreign waste, putting pressure on Europe to deal with its own waste. This predicted a huge opportunity for European recyclers, but the main issue that complicates plastic recycling in the European Union is the quality and price of the recycled products. Moreover, the demand for recycled plastics accounts for only 6% of plastics demand in Europe.  

The European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy focuses on improving the quality of recycled plastic products, increasing plastic recycling rates, and more. Better quality recyclable plastics boost the recycling industry and make the plastic industry competitive and resilient.

The Change for the Plastic Industry

According to the European Commission, all plastic packaging should be designed to be recyclable or reusable by 2030. The ultimate goal is to minimise the quantity of plastic waste generated and getting accumulated as litter or incinerated. The recycling rate can be improved by developing quality standards for sorted plastic waste and recycled plastics. European Union pledges to see 10 million tonnes of recycled plastics in new products by 2025.     

Wrapping Up

Implementing the new EU standard for plastic will reduce plastic waste with low value and high environmental impact while improving its quality. Currently traded European plastic waste acts as the secondary material resources for the European manufacturing industry, while recycling would provide a net benefit for the country’s economy.

Category : Plastic

Tags : collection rate, EU member states, Plastics Recycling, Europe’s Plastic Waste Recycling, Plastic Industry

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About Benny Jebaraj

I have been with recycleinme.com for the past four years and enjoy working as the Administrator of the Scrap Prices section.  I am graduated as Master of Business Administration in Human resource management. Why I have chosen this course is because I’m very much fond of Business Administrati .... more info


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