New European measures on packaging plastics.
Total recyclability by 2030
13 June 2018
Plastic is an important and omnipresent material in our economy and daily lives. In packaging, plastics help ensure food safety and reduce food waste. Combined with 3D printing, bio-compatible plastic materials can save human lives by enabling medical innovation.
However, too often the way plastics are currently produced, used and discarded fails to capture the economic benefits of a more 'circular' approach and harms the environment. There is an urgent need to tackle the environmental problems that today cast a long shadow over the production, use and consumption of plastics.
In 2017, The European Commission confirmed it would focus on recyclable plastics production and use and work towards the goal of ensuring that all plastic packaging is completely recyclable by 2030.
The EU is best placed to lead the transition to the plastics of the future. This strategy lays the foundations to a new plastics economy, where the design and production of plastics and plastic products fully respect reuse, repair and recycling needs and more sustainable materials are developed and promoted.
Platic today: numers
Over the past 50 years, the role and importance of plastics in our economy has consistently grown. Global production of plastics has increased twentyfold since the 1960s, reaching 322 million tonnes in 2015. It is expected to double again over the next 20 years.
Around 25.8 million tonnes of plastic waste are generated in Europe every year. Less than 30% of such waste is collected for recycling.
At the same time, landfilling and incineration rates of plastic waste remain high (31 % and 39 %, respectively) and while landfill has decreased over the past decade, incineration has grown.