EU Plastics Strategy: Commission welcomes voluntary pledges from industry to boost the market for recycled plastics and encourages further action

Following an EU-wide pledging campaign as part of the European Plastics Strategy, today the European Commission has given a preliminary assessment which shows that EU industry is significantly committed to recycling plastics – at least 10 million tons of recycled plastics could be supplied by 2025 if the pledges are fully delivered.

However, on the demand side, only 5 million tons are expected so far, demonstrating that more will be needed to achieve the objective of a well-functioning EU market of recycled plastics. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, responsible for sustainable development, said: “To get to a circular plastics economy, it is essential that more recycled plastics find their way into new products. While we are very grateful for the variety of contributions we received from different industry representatives, more needs to be done.” Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, said: “The pledging exercise clearly shows that big part of the European industry is committed to use plastics in a more sustainable manner. To be able to reap benefits in full, we need to develop a well-functioning market for recycled plastics.” The main pledges received came from plastics recyclers, industry associations for Expanded Polystyrene and brand owners mainly for PET packaging (see list of pledgers). While the official pledging exercise announced in the Plastics Strategy is now closed, we are well aware that more companies are preparing their commitments – which we strongly encourage. The Commission will now analyse the pledges in more detail and publish the results in the first quarter of 2019. The Commission will continue to strongly encourage initiatives that contribute to boosting the market of recycled plastics in the EU and will cooperate with stakeholders to facilitate close stakeholder collaboration across the supply chain to achieve this objective. A first stakeholder meeting will be organised early 2019.  A press release is available online.