COVID-19 is crippling plastics recycling industry, EU group says
Coronavirus shutdown impacts have converged with low virgin plastic prices to create significant struggles for European plastics reclaimers, according to the Plastics Recyclers Europe trade association.
Buffeted by COVID-19-related problems that include lack of demand due to the closure of converting plants and the record low prices of virgin plastics as well as decreased global activity, the European plastics recycling industry is now facing severe headwinds, an industry association says.
According to Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE), an organization representing the voice of European plastics recyclers, these market developments are turning plastics recycling into an unprofitable business in the short term and risk “grave environmental consequences” in the longer term.
“If the situation persists and no actions are taken, plastics recycling will cease to be profitable, hampering attainment of EU recycling targets and putting in jeopardy the transition toward circular plastics,” PRE president Tom Emans said in a press release. “In such a case, recyclable plastic waste will have no alternatives but to be sent to landfill or incineration.”
PRE is asking the European Union (EU) and individual countries to include recycling in their recovery plans.
“Safeguarding the positive developments within this market is essential to reduce Europe’s use of virgin plastics and, therefore, for the survival of the secondary raw materials market as well as further investments in the sector,” PRE said in its statement.