Plastics recycling in the European Union (EU)
A partnership between the company RecyClass and several other European plastic recycling certifiers is driving harmonization of plastics recycling standards in the European Union (EU).
The partnership between RecyCkass and others recycling certifiers
RecyClass has partnered with Recoup, SUIZ.Circpack, plastship, Circular Analytics, AIMPLAS, Veolia PET Germany GmbH and REDILO, training individual auditors from these companies and empowering them to issue the RecyClass Recyclability Certification for plastics packaging.
This partnership is a big win for harmonization of recyclability standards across the EU.
As RecyClass Chairman Paolo Glerean explains, “With these collaborations, we aim to promote the scientifically based RecyClass method as an objective way to assess plastic packaging recyclability in the marketplace.”
Plastics Are Popular – and Polluting
Plastics are popular, and it is not hard to see why: durable, lightweight, and inexpensive, they can be used in a host of different products and applications.
Small wonder, then, that over 100 million tons of plastics are manufactured every year across the globe. This means new plastic material has to be thermoformed, foamed, laminated, and extruded – and all of this imposes a terrible cost on the environment.
The process of manufacturing plastic
Plastics use ethane, which is found in natural gas. The process of manufacturing plastic entails taking natural gas and using intense heat to break apart the ethane molecules. This process requires tremendous outlays of energy, contributing to carbon emissions, and it also produces pollutants: nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, benzene – a carcinogen, and volatile organic compounds that can react with sunlight to form ozone.
In fact, plastics generate greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change at every stage of their life cycle.
More emissions and vastly more waste
The demand for plastic has nearly doubled since the year 2000, meaning more emissions and vastly more waste – notably in the form of throwaway plastic packaging. And every year, nearly 10 million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean.
Plastic Recycling: A Necessary Component of Sustainability
Given the tremendous environmental impact of plastics, recycling them is vitally necessary. There are already companies that turn ocean plastics into fashion.
Big step toward uniform standards for certifying plastics recyclers
As Glerean says: “The Certification Bodies and their auditors will help us in setting up such a transparent and trustworthy framework.”
To facilitate these operations, RecyClass released both the “RecyClass Certification Bodies and Auditors Requirements” and the “RecyClass Certification Quality Management Systems and Procedures.” These documents will help to promote understanding of the methodology and how to apply it.