The European Strategy for Plastics: A missed opportunity

ESWET welcomes the adoption of the EU Strategy for Plastics, a proposal that through its multiple applications will improve the life of citizens. However, despite the efforts made by the European Commission in order to boost and improve recycling, the Strategy fails to take into consideration the option of energy recovery.
Carsten Raum,

Plastics cannot be recycled eternally, ESWET cites. By calling to gradually increase fees and taxes for incineration, this Strategy fails to recognise this reality. Once plastics are no longer recyclable, do we want to recover or bury this energy? ESWET believes that in order to have a really efficient environmental impact, Waste-to-Energy is a better, sustainable solution, in respect of Waste Hierarchy.

Moreover, in certain cases, due to recycling constraints, energy recovery can be a better solution to recycling. Thermal treatment allows the removal of substances of concern and other pollutants from the eco-cycle. Also, taking into consideration that the recycling process should be eco-efficient, we need to bear in mind the environmental costs of the recycling process and the quality of the final product, ESWET confirms. For example, plastic polymers deteriorate with age and are no longer suitable for creation of new products after several cycles of recycling.

For all these reasons, ESWET would be happy to see, in the future, energy recovery through Waste-to-Energy complementing the Strategy on Plastics and, more generally, the Circular Economy in an integrated approach that maximises the value of resources.


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