Under the energy crisis, the EU wants to strictly implement the plastic limit order
On November 30, the European Union(EU) revised the "Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive". The European Commission hopes to reduce the environmental impact of packaging by forcing producers to use recycled plastics in new packaging.
Introduction to the EU's Revised Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive
The draft stipulates thatplastic drink bottles and contact-sensitive packaging such as food wrapping made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) would need to contain 30% recycled content by 2030.This target will then be substantially increased by 2040.
"The cycle of packaging helps to decouple economic development from the use of natural resources." "In recent years, the packaging industry has grown faster than gross national income, resulting in soaring carbon dioxide and other emissions, as well as overexploitation of natural resources, loss of biodiversity and pollution," theEuropeanCommission said in the draft.
It can be seen that under the dual factors of energy crisis and environmental protection considerations, the EU accelerated the implementation of the "plastic limit order" in 2022. On the one hand, it banned disposable plastic products on a large scale, on the other hand, it promoted the growth of plastic recycling industry within the EU in the form of directives.
At present, the EU requires in the draft that all plastic packaging put into the EU market should "contain a certain amount of relevant ingredients recycled from plastic waste"from January 2030.
Specifically, the minimum recycling rate from post-consumer plastic waste, the recycled plastic content: the recycling rate of disposable beverage bottles is 50% in 2030 and 65% in 2040; the target value of contact-sensitive plastic packaging is 25% in 2030 and 50% in 2040; All other plastic packaging, minimum content starts at 45% in 2030 and reaches 65% by 2040.
Challenges Faced by Recyclers in the Plastic Market
Recyclers currently face significant challenges in selling secondary materials in a market dominated by cheaper, higher quality virgin materials. To solve this problem, the EU intends to expand the recycling content target from plastic bottles to all plastic packaging, hoping to promote the development of the recycling plastic market by forcing the use of recycled materials in new packaging.
It has been commented that the EU's upcoming measures will cover a wide range of products, from stickers on Apple electronic products, disposable plastic handbags to capsule coffee, which will have a huge impact on the European chemical industry and food packaging industry.
According to Plastics Europe, a European industry group, in 2019, only 5% of plastic in EU packaging came from recycled sources.
Plastics Industry's Energy Consumption and Future Plans
Previously, the EU has passed the Regulations on Disposable Plastic Products to ban disposable plastic products on a large scale in order to reduce the harm to the natural environment and humanhealth.The regulations also stipulate that 77% of plastic bottles should be recycled, and the proportion of renewable materials in plastic bottles should reach 25% by 2025. The above two indicators should be expanded to 90% and 30% in 2029 and 2030, respectively.
According to a recent report released by Break Free From Plastic and the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), plastics and petrochemicals are the largest industrial oil, gas and electricity users in the EU, with plastic packaging accounting for 40% of the energy consumption of the entire plastics industry. The report also found that the plastics industry plans to double its use of natural gas and oil over the next 20 year.