Europe seeks ways to boost plastic recovery

Europe seeks ways to boost plastic recovery

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

Member states need to favor plastic waste prevention and recycling over disposal, according to a new green paper from European Union Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik.

This latest call for more and better plastic recycling in the EU coincides with new numbers from the Environment Commission that indicate the annual output of European plastic recycling firms is the equivalent of just two weeks of demand for plastics from European businesses.

"Managing plastic waste is a major challenge in terms of environmental protection, but it's also a huge opportunity for resource efficiency," said Potocnik, in a prepared statement. "In a circular economy where high recycling rates offer solutions to material scarcity, I believe plastic has a future. I invite all stakeholders to participate in this process of reflection on how to make plastic part of the solution rather than the problem."

The green paper offers some suggestions to boost recycling in the EU, such as landfill bans, landfill taxes and pay-as-you-throw programs, but it is primarily designed to seek input from stakeholders in the various member states. The paper includes 26 questions seeking input on the effectiveness of various collection, processing and regulatory issues, as well as on matters relating to plastic product design.

The consultation period will last through June of this year, with policy recommendations scheduled for 2014.

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