Only 13.5 percent of new plastic in Europe comes from the circular economy


Brussels – European plastics manufacturers must do more to protect the environment, according to Plastics Europe. According to a report by the trade association of European plastics manufacturers, only 13.5% of European plastics were produced with recycled materials in 2022.

Europeans are reducing the amount of new materials they need for the production of plastics. But they need to do more to promote a broader circular economy for recycled plastic products. This is the opinion of Plastics Europe, the Brussels-based trade association of European plastics manufacturers. On March 19, it published a report entitled Circular Economy for Plastics – A European Analysis.

According to the report, only 13.5% of new plastic products manufactured in Europe in 2022 were made from recycled materials. The industry is aiming to increase this share to 25 percent by 2030 and 65 percent by 2050. In addition, 26.9 percent of plastic waste in Europe is now recycled. More waste is now recycled than disposed of in landfills.

However, the report concludes that Europe must reduce its dependence on fossil raw materials in favor of the reuse and recycling of plastics, sustainably sourced bio-based raw materials and CO2 capture from industrial processes. The report is intended to show companies, policymakers and consumers how this changeover can take place.

According to the report, 15 percent more plastics were incinerated in incineration plants in 2022 than in 2018. This would remove plastics that could be recycled from the circular economy. At the same time, climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions are rising. In addition, Europe is now also importing more plastics from foreign sources, which are probably not recyclable.

“While the data confirms that the transition to a circular economy is firmly established and gathering pace, it is frustrating that we are still incinerating so much plastic waste when this potential raw material is desperately needed by our industry to accelerate the transition,” said Virginia Janssens, Plastics Europe’s managing director, in a Media release quoted. ce/jd