The transition to a more environmentally sustainable industry model is gaining traction, as shown by commitments such as the Circular Plastics Alliance. The alliance involves both the public and private sectors and is testament to the EU’s commitment to recycling. SP Group supports sustainability and is working to meet these objectives.
WHAT IS THE CIRCULAR PLASTICS ALLIANCE?
The Circular Plastics Alliance has a clear goal: to remove plastic waste from the environment and accelerate the transition to a more circular and sustainable model.
This ambitious goal will be achieved by reducing unnecessary plastic use and by investing in innovation for plastic reuse and recycling.
Thirteen EU member states have joined the alliance. They are France, Denmark, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Finland, Greece, Portugal, Latvia, Slovenia and Lithuania. The coalition is also working with 90 multinationals and associations and many more are expected to join in the near future.
OBJECTIVES OF THE CIRCULAR PLASTICS ALLIANCE
The Circular Plastics Alliance is not just a piece of paper. A deadline has been set for meeting a series of measurable objectives and to check whether the agreements are being honoured. There are four main objectives for the year 2025.
The first is to eliminate single-use packaging by designing it such that it can be reused and have a second useful life. The goal for 2025 is for all such packaging to be recyclable.
In addition, the alliance wants to see more responsible use of plastic packaging and of single-use plastic. The goal here is to reduce the production of virgin plastic and plastic packaging by at least 20% by 2025.
The third objective is to drastically increase the management, collection capability, classification and recycling of all plastics, particularly plastic packaging and single-use items. This will boost quality throughout the recycling process and increase demand for recycled plastic.
The fourth and final objective is for greater use of recycled plastic in the creation of packaging and other plastic products. By 2025, all businesses should use at least 30% recycled plastics in their production and manufacturing processes.
There will also be monitoring of recycled plastics in the EU to ensure all these objectives are being met as per the agreements made.
VOICES AGAINST THE ALLIANCE
Despite the benefits that meeting the goals of the agreement would bring, not everyone is in favour. The Plastics Thermoforming Association in Europe argues that this agreement does not provide long term solutions. However, it supports all the regulations on plastic waste that may be introduced.
The association furthermore claims that the reduction in single-use plastic waste and the most ambitious recycling goals clash with the lack of waste management and bad practices in the industry. They state that the pioneering countries in the industry have dumped plastic waste in landfill when it could have been recycled, though this is not the case for all signatories to the new agreement.
The association feels that the agreement does not involve governmental departments of industry and that there has been no contact with them to assess the impact that the agreement would have on the industry. That is, threats to jobs in a sector that currently has thousands of businesses with a turnover in the billions. In Spain alone, there are more than 4,000 businesses with a turnover of around 30 billion euros and more than 120,000 employees.
The Circular Plastics Alliance has a long road ahead. Thankfully, the first steps have already been taken. Even where there is conflict, there is no doubt that sustainability and recycling are necessary. The objections are around how the vision will be realised. The coming years will prove crucial to making the proposed changes. At SP Group, we will be keeping a close eye on how the alliance evolves.