Best Practices for Harmonised Collection & Sorting | Breakfast Discussion in the European Parliament on 19 February 2019

The entire PET industry has set itself ambitious recycling targets and is committed to increase its role in the circular economyPetcore Europe and the Parliament Magazine therefore organised a breakfast discussion in the European Parliament  to present the PET industry's best practices and to bring together EU policymakers, NGOs and stakeholders alike to discuss the PET recyclers’ unused capacity. The event was kindly hosted by MEP Maria Spyraki.

While Petcore Europe set itself the objective to recycle 100% of all collected PET packaging material by 2030, this commitment is undermined by proposed reduction targets for PET food containers in the Single Use Plastics Directive. Christian Crépet, Executive Director of Petcore Europe knows: "European PET recyclers currently lack material to reprocess, to an extent that there is an unused capacity of 296.400 tonnes which can be caused by numerous reasons, one of them being the quality of the collected PET. Moreover, insufficient quantity of collection can be observed - a lack of 115.000 tonnes in 2017. Increased collection and sorting of PET bottles and trays would therefore ensure sustainability and circularity of plastics."

Host MEP Maria Spyraki had positive feedback for Petcore Europe during the event: "We have to congratulate the PET industry for setting up its own initiative for circularity...nevertheless, it is essential to focus on communication with consumers to increase awareness."

Other speakers at the event were MEP Theresa Griffin and Grzegorz Raziejewski, Member of Cabinet of Commissioner Jyrki Katainen. Both agreed that among other things investment and innovation are key drivers to make all plastics re-used or recycled by 2030.

Gian De Belder (P&G) and Patricia Fosselard (EFBW) presented industry best practices. Both speakers showed that most PET packaging is perfectly recyclable, the issue is that in Europe not enough material is collected and sorted. According to them harmonisation, cross value chain collaboration and consumer education is the way forward.

Sarah Nelen, Head of Unit Waste Management and Secondary materials at DG Environment, European Commission, gave a short update on the work the European Commission (EC) is doing to help reach the ambitious targets. The EC will publish guidance on separate collection for members states at the end of 2019. Additionally, minimum requirements for EPR (Extended Prodcuer Responsibility) schemes are in place, new calculation rules for measuring the recycling targets as well as guidance + best practice regarding the modulation of fees of non-recyclable packaging will follow.

This first event will be followed by a second one on 20 March 2019. The focus will be entirely on collection and sorting - different best-in-class schemes will be presented to show the way forward.

Foto Credit: © Jean-Yves Limet