Global plastics production
- 2020: approx. 370 mio. to, of which in Europe approx. 55 mio. to (15%)
- 2040: doubling of global plastics production to approx. 750 mio. to
- 2020: approx. 55 mio. to of which approx. 12% HDPE and 19% PP
- Packaging with just under 40% largest share
Recycling potential in the segment Plastic Packaging
Forecasts predict a doubling of global plastic waste from 250 million tonnes to 450 million tonnes between 2018 and 2030. In parallel, the amount of waste sent for mechanical recycling is expected to grow from 12 to 26%, in absolute terms from 30 to 117 million tonnes.
Drivers of demand for high-quality secondary raw materials (recyclates)
- Introduction of recyclate quotas at EU level
- Introduction of a bonus (-malus) system for recyclability and recycling of packaging
- Release of the use of recyclates also for food packaging (option; release requires defined standards to ensure quality and maintain safety)
- Brands: Voluntary commitments by major brandowners
- Consumer: Sustainability as a trend of the times
Current market situation of recyclates
The quality of recyclates is mainly affected by odor, impurities (NIAS) and color.
Low-quality recyclates can therefore only be used for lower-quality products (down cycling) and are thus not available for a genuine recycling loop.
Chemical recycling will make a higher contribution in the long term, but at a very low level (approx. 10% by 2040). In the medium to long term, chemical recycling will not be a solution to the increasing demand for high-quality recyclates, as it is hardly economically viable.
(Optimized) mechanical recycling will continue to make a decisive contribution to increasing the quantity and quality of available recyclates for the foreseeable future.
For high-quality reuse, pure, odorless and colorless recyclates free of impurities are required.
In order to ideally meet recyclate quotas, recyclates should be available in different grades (food grade, pharma grade, ...).
All in all, increasing the quality of recyclates will boost market demand and broaden the range of applications!