What future for plastic recycling in a circular and toxic-free economy? – New report
We cannot continue our addiction to plastics and simply recycle our way out of the biodiversity and climate crisis, but recycling does have an important role to play. Unfortunately, the reality of plastics recycling today is far away from where it needs to be.
The EU’s linear economy produces 58 million tonnes of plastic per year and generates 30 million tonnes of plastic waste, of which only 9 million are collected for recycling. Out of this, 4 million tonnes cannot be processed because of contamination, additive contents and mixed, low-grade plastic streams. As a result, just 5 million tonnes of plastic are actually recycled.
In addition, most plastics are collected from industrial sources, so are not considered post-consumer plastic. Finally, half of the plastic waste collected for recycling is exported to be treated in countries outside of the EU, sometimes even dumped in developing countries, or mysteriously ‘lost’ at sea.
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