Just over 5 million tonnes of recycled plastic made it back into the EU product stream each year between 2016 and 2019, which is only half of the targeted market size for 2025, according to a new report for the Circular Plastics Alliance (CPA) — State of Play on Collection and Sorting.
Based on the research undertaken by the CPA for the state of play for collected and sorted plastic waste, it is estimated that a total of 21 million tonnes of plastic waste are collected in Europe annually from the products/sectors represented in the CPA, which are the biggest plastics-using markets. Out of this, 9.2 million tonnes of plastic waste are sorted for recycling (sent to recyclers as inputs), including 7.5 million tonnes to recyclers located in Europe. These 7.5 million tonnes result in 5.2 million tonnes of recyclates produced in the EU. This reflects a yield of approximately 70%. The CPA has estimated that to reach the 10 million tonnes target, assuming a 70% yield, at least 15 million tonnes of recyclable plastic waste should be sorted for recycling every year in Europe. The CPA will investigate the untapped potential for more collection and sorting in Europe in a next report to be published in early 2021.
The Circular Plastics Alliance (CPA) was launched in 2018 by the European Commission as a platform for industry to deliver on the circular economy for plastics and substantially increase the use of recycled plastics in new products. The specific aim of the CPA is to achieve at least 10 million tonnes of recycled plastics materials in products and packaging placed on the European market each year by 2025. More than 240 organisations and companies covering the full plastics value chain, including research organisations, producers, raw material suppliers, recyclers, standardisation bodies and public authorities have signed up to the CPA and are committed to working together to achieve this goal.