It has published the results of a survey on the current and future use of rPM this month, in conjunction with Polymer Comply Europe (PCE), which was carried out in May with 485 participants from 28 countries.
More surveys in 2018
Highlights include; the quality of rPM remains the biggest barrier to a stronger use of recyclates as raw materials; customers of converting companies do not support the use of rPM well enough.
Only 27% of the European plastics converting companies state their customers are sufficiently aware of the benefits and needs to use rPM.
The current regulatory framework needs to be adapted to adequately support the use of rPM and almost 60% of the European plastics converting companies think the current regulations are not suitable to support a stronger use of rPM in the future.
Alexandre Dangis, MD, EuPC, said the potential of the plastics converting industry is essential if we want to reach ambitious recycling targets, especially as converting companies form the biggest part of the European plastics industry.
The survey is part of a larger initiative of EuPC to get more knowledge about the use of rPM in the plastics converting industry and further surveys and workshops with national plastics associations will be launched in 2018.
“Our survey on the use of rPM in the plastics converting industry will enable EuPC to identify the difficulties we are facing as an industry and help to find solutions for the future," said Dangis.
The importance of recycling was also addressed during a two-day conference, ‘A circular future with plastics,’ organized by EuPC with the Spanish Plastics Association (ANAIP) in June.
Quality and stability
According to Dangis, price is the main incentive for converting companies to use rPM, while a better environmental image and a favorable carbon balance play an important role.
When it comes to barriers to the use of rPM, quality and stability of the supply are the most important factors. Only 15% of the participants state that the price prevents them from using rPM.
This indicates the quality rather than the quantity of rPM on the market is the problem.
Legal issues are hindering the use of rPM as well, especially regarding food contact applications, where the European Commission has failed to establish a working system more than nine years after the regulatory framework was adopted.
The same applies for the legacy additives issues for long-life products, where converting companies are still facing legal uncertainty.
The attitude of customers of the converting companies towards the use of rPM needs to be improved to increase the quantity of rPM processed by converters. Without the support of its customers, the plastics converting industry will not be able to boost the use of rPM.
The first step to change that attitude would be increased awareness, which should in return lead to a better acceptance of rPM.
“The fact that a majority of almost 60% of the converting companies thinks the current product regulations are not suitable to support a stronger use of rPM in the future shows the regulatory framework needs to be adjusted,” added Dangis.
“The introduction of quality standards for rPM would for example lead to more use of rPM by nearly half of the participating companies. The vast majority of European plastics converting companies is already using rPM, despite the numerous barriers. In the future, this number will further increase to more than 90%.”