Welcome to the Plastics Weekly, NEO’s regular news monitoring of the plastics industry.
This week’s highlights:
- The packaging industry is preparing for tougher recycling rules, as governments redouble their efforts to rein in packaging waste by adopting rules that will force producers to roll out more recycled and biodegradable products. About 40% of packaging in the EU is made of plastic, with all types making up about 36% of municipal solid waste across the bloc, according to its own figures. The share of unrecyclable packaging grew significantly between 2012 and 2020, the European Commission recently warned. But cost is expected to remain the biggest factor in the uptake of sustainable packaging. (Financial Times)
- A group of federal lawmakers is urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reject chemical recycling as a plastics management solution and focus more on reduction and reuse strategies. The group criticised chemical recycling, saying it won’t reduce the amount of plastic in the environment and could cause further harm by putting more resources into plastics production. Plastics industry representatives, including the American Chemistry Council and the Plastics Industry Association, called the bill “misguided” and said it would hurt jobs and interrupt technology advancements. (Waste Dive)
- Meanwhile, recycling company Neste has partnered with Uponor, Wastewise and Borealis on chemical recycling of hard-to-recycle plastic waste. The partners have successfully produced cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) pipes using feedstock derived from chemically recycled post-industrial plastic waste from PEX pipe production. PEX pipes are an important contributor to energy-efficient heating and safe plumbing. The partners say the project shows how chemical recycling can close the loop on plastic waste, transforming it into high quality polymer feedstock and enabling the subsequent manufacture of products with the same qualities and properties. (Recycling Magazine)