Circular Economy avant la lettre
An EU action plan for the Circular Economy
The much awaited European Commission Circular Economy package was published 2 December 2015 (COM 2015 614/2).
The European Commission refers to the need of “a transition to a more circular economy, where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy as long as possible, and the generation of waste is minimised”.
In its Circular Economy package the European Commission focusses on certain priority areas, of which Plastics is one. And with good reason: “Increasing plastic recycling is essential for the transition to a circular economy”
Plastic pipes and fittings
Much of what is in the package has already been addressed – and dealt with! - by the plastic pipes and fittings industry in Europe many years ago!
Circular Economy is more than just recycling: it’s about collecting waste, and use it as resource in new products, preferably while - at least – maintaining the same quality level.
This is exactly what the plastic pipes and fittings industry has been doing since the early nineties: in many EU member states recycling schemes have been set up, and certain pipe products have been redesigned to allow for the use of recyclate, while maintaining the same – certified! - quality. This has led to a commitment to recycle at least 250.000 tonnes of plastic pipe waste in 2020.
Unfortunately the European Commission is undermining its own goals by not being able to make clear choices in certain policy areas.
Where the plastic pipes and fittings industry almost fully complies with the concept of the Circular Economy as worded in the package, the recycling of plastic pipe waste is hindered because the Commission does not allow a risk based approach where legacy substances are concerned.
Being one of the first plastic converting industries that has tried to close the loop, the plastic pipes and fittings industry trusts the European Commission to reward this, and to be true to its own goals, to have a smooth transition towards a more circular economy.