The Circular Plastics Alliance has committed to boosting the EU market for recycled plastics to 10 million tonnes by 2025. The CPA takes action to reach this target and publishes its deliverables on this page.
Commitments to action
As per the declaration of the Circular Plastics Alliance, the signatories “take action to boost the EU market for recycled plastics up to 10 million tonnes by 2025”. The summary of the alliance’s commitments for action lists the planned deliverables, most of which are published below.
Design-for-recycling of plastic products
Plastics recycling starts with recyclable plastic products.
The updated work plan on design-for-recycling of the alliance lists 26 plastic product categories that the alliance commits to make recyclable.
Collecting and recycling the plastic waste arising from these 26 product categories would be more than sufficient to achieve the 10 million tonnes target (these products account for over 60% of plastic waste collected in Europe). However, currently about half of this waste goes to sorting centres and less than half reaches recycling plants.
To ensure the 26 priority products are recyclable by 2025, the CPA develops design-for-recycling guidelines, as input for European standardisation (CEN-CENELEC). The next step is to ensure that these design-for-recycling guidelines become the new normal for products placed on the European market.
A roadmap to 10 million tonnes of recycled plastics
Achieving the 10 million tonnes target requires producing an additional 3.4 million tonnes of recycled plastics in Europe by 2025 (compared to 2020). Therefore, sorting capacities should increase by at least 4.2 million tonnes by 2025 and recycling capacities by at least 3.8 million tonnes. This corresponds to estimated investment needs between € 7.6 billion and € 9.1 billion.
See the CPA ‘roadmap to 10 million tonnes’ for the details of the analysis.
To reach the target, over 80% of the increase in recycled plastics should come from packaging, the remainder from the other economic sectors covered by the CPA (agriculture, construction, automotive and electrical and electronics). The alliance’s working groups provided the underlying calculations for their respective sectors. Sectors currently not represented in the alliance (e.g. textiles, furniture, leisure) were assumed to see no increase in their use of recycled plastics.
The roadmap to 10 million tonnes builds on previous work published by the CPA, including a state-of-play on collected and sorted plastic waste in Europe and an R&D agenda for circular plastics. The state-of-play report shows that the economic sectors represented in the CPA account for over 70% of the plastic waste collected in Europe (21 million tonnes), out of which 44% is currently sorted for recycling. The report summarises challenges to increasing the collection and sorting of plastic waste and improving data on collected and sorted waste, which requires help from national and local authorities across Europe.
Next, the alliance will focus on the requirements and solutions for greater uptake of recycled plastics in products by 2025 and publish a follow-up report in early 2022. In addition, the CPA will regularly update its roadmap in cooperation with all interested stakeholders and authorities.
A European monitoring system
The CPA established a monitoring system to track progress towards 10 million tonnes of recycled plastics produced and used in Europe by 2025. This is the first-ever EU-wide monitoring system on recycled plastics. The CPA agreed on a methodology and rules for this monitoring system, in line with the commitment in the CPA declaration, to deliver a system that is transparent and trusted, with auditing and traceability of both the system and data.
The CPA now calls for data collectors, to collect and consolidate the data generated by individual companies. Data collectors are non-profit legal entities established in the EU or UK, complying with all the requirements described in Chapter III of the CPA monitoring methodology (Data Collection Rules). They perform their tasks according to the CPA monitoring methodology, including as regards data confidentiality. Interested entities can apply by submitting application forms A and A1 before 15 November 2021 to GROW-ENV-RPLASTICS-PLEDGE@ec.europa.eu. The CPA monitoring secretariat, in charge of overseeing the correct implementation of the monitoring system in accordance with the CPA methodology, will review the applications and contact the applicants.
Once all data collectors are appointed, the CPA invites all individual companies producing or using recycled plastics to report data via the CPA system as ‘data generators’ (see graph below). Data generators are not required to sign the CPA declaration and join the alliance but are welcome to do so.
In early 2022, the CPA will publish a new report on the requirements and solutions to increase the uptake of recycled plastics in products to 10 million tonnes by 2025, which is the last remaining unpublished deliverable from its declaration. In addition, the CPA will regularly update the roadmap to 10 million tonnes and accelerate cooperation with interested national stakeholders and authorities.