With regard to climate change and the carbon footprint, the EU has recently fully supported all forms of recycling (chemical, mechanical) as a necessary form of improving the environment and, in particular, reducing the carbon footprint through innovative recycling technologies. He confirms these views in strategic documents. As the "European Committee of the Regions, concerning the circular economy, the circular economy, the OH package, the European Plastics Strategy OH", and so on.
The European Strategy for Plastics in the Circulating Economy and the annexes aimed at transforming the way plastic products are designed, manufactured, used and recycled. All plastic packaging should be recyclable by 2030. The strategy also emphasizes the need to introduce specific measures, possibly a legislative instrument, to reduce the impact of disposable plastics on the seas and oceans.
The potential for recycling plastic waste is largely untapped in the EU. The reuse and recycling of plastics at the end of their life is very low, especially compared to other materials such as paper, glass or metals. At present, demand for recycled plastics in Europe accounts for only around 6% of total demand for plastics. The EU plastics recycling industry has been negatively affected in recent years by low commodity prices and uncertainty about outlets.
Estimates have shown that the production of plastics and the incineration of plastic waste generate around 400 million tonnes of CO2 per year worldwide. Increased use of recycled plastics can reduce dependence on the production of fossil fuels for their production and reduce CO2 emissions. It is estimated that the potential annual energy savings that could be achieved by recycling all plastic waste worldwide is equivalent to 3.5 billion barrels of oil.
I, Opinion of the European Committee of the Regions - Communication on a European strategy for the plastics in the circular economy. Better recycling.
Development of sorting and recycling technology
J, CEFIC Opinion / March 2020 / - Much more plastic waste needs to be recycled to meet ambitious European targets. In this context, CEFIC emphasizes the potential for chemical recycling of plastic waste.
K, Report of the European Environment Agency (EEA), of which the SAŽP is also a member of the consortium in March 2019, where on page 32, point 4.3 Environmental impacts, we quote: “Emissions can be reduced in plastics production by improving energy efficiency and using renewable energy sources (to 3.7 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of plastics). By comparison, in low mechanical recycling (involving cleaning, remelting and modernization steps), CO2 emissions are 1.4 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of plastics, while in chemical recycling (eg pyrolysis, where plastics are broken down into monomers or chemicals, CO2 emissions can be used as raw materials for new products) the calculated CO2 emission is 1.0 tonne of CO2 per tonne of plastics. Assuming that potentially 56 percent of the volume of plastics could be mechanically recycled or reused and another 11 percent could be recycled by chemical recycling techniques (such as pyrolysis and depolymerisation), this would roughly reduce emissions from 233 to 144 million tonnes of CO2 per year, compared to the production of new plastics and their incineration at the end of their life. ”(Material Economics, 2018).