The European Green Deal is today leading our agenda. By 2025, the EU wants 50% of plastic packaging to be recycled and reused, rising to 55% by 2030. And then by 2050, we have to achieve climate neutrality. As recyclers, we have an important role to play. Today, over 25 million tonnes of plastic are collected each year in the EU and yet less than one-third is recycled.
In Spain, there is much hard work to be done as we lack the industrial capacity to achieve the European Green Deal requirements. A study from the Centro de Innovación y Desarrollo para la Economía Circular (CIDEC) reveals that Spain’s rPET capacity is no more than 35,000 tonnes per year whereas the food industry needs 54,000 tonnes. Moreover, 2020 was a hard year for this sector owing to low commodity prices, forcing some plastics recycling companies to close.
Despite the challenges faced, we are on the right track. Recycled plastic volumes are increasing every year (in 2019, Spain was third among European countries in terms of plastics recycling, and it is second in the world for EuCertPlast certificates). The country has already created an infrastructure capable of recycling the majority of its waste, and is also about to introduce two taxes: for plastic packaging with no recycled component; and for plastics that end up at incineration plants or landfills. The aim of these taxes is to push the circular economy and increase the use of recycled plastic.
The European Green Deal will help not only to achieve climate neutrality but also to create employment opportunities, with estimates of 700,000 new jobs within Europe by 2030.
This Green Deal will shape the post-COVID landscape and will help revitalize the economy by forcing investment in new areas of recycling and in new machinery, creating more work opportunities and improving our daily lives through more efficient waste management based on a circular economy.
Ferromolins SL (ESP), Board Member of the BIR Plastics Committee