PCEP Secretary General Venetia Spencer told delegates at the Packaging and Sustainability Conference in January how PCEP was fostering polyolefins circularity across Europe.
Spencer outlined the scale of the challenge ahead and appealed to organisations to get involved as the transformation to a polyolefin circular economy could only be achieved collaboratively.
Spencer said it is clear that solving the plastic waste crisis involves shifting the whole economy from today’s linear take-make-waste model to one in which plastic never becomes waste, or pollution.
Industry in particular, she said, must fundamentally rethink the way it designs, uses, and reuses plastics. And, beyond this, how we engage with the final user of our products to create a systemic shift including a relationship that sees the value in our materials, and the value in keeping them in a circular economy.
Spencer presented delegates with data from the PCEP study into polyolefin material flow in 2019, carried out by Conversio.
Polyolefins represent 70% of Europe’s plastic packaging market and, at the end of life, packaging represents the majority (71%) of the collected post-consumer polyolefin waste. That collected material goes on to be transformed into over 80% of the post-consumer recycled polyolefins being used today in European products – across packaging, construction, automotive, electronics, agriculture and other sectors.
“Getting packaging right will result in a dramatic shift in the circularity of polyolefins as a whole,” Spencer said. “And when the polyolefin industry takes responsibility for its own footprint, we will be the enabler for everyone else’s transformation too.”
PCEP is about action, not words, she said. But transformational change on the scale required cannot happen in isolation. Industry will needs support from governments and society at large.