Here’s the paradox: on the one hand, a general awareness and encouragement to develop an efficient, viable industrial sector to recycle plastics of all kinds, including WEEE, and enter an increasingly circular and virtuous economy. On the other, a free pass given to virgin materials from the ends of the earth, produced at very low cost and in opaque conditions, in complete contradiction to the guidelines set out by our institutions.


So, when you’re a private industrial company investing considerable sums to make effective WEEE recycling possible, how do you adapt to a situation whose regulatory framework you have no control over? By making our voice heard, directly with elected representatives and via our professional bodies.


The European Commission, acting on a proposal from the European Plastics Recycling Board (EPRB), has set carmakers a concrete target: to incorporate 25% recycled plastic in the manufacture of their vehicles by 2030. Such a signal can only encourage recycling manufacturers to continue investing in their current sites and technologies and to work on new facilities, given the huge size of the market. Indeed, with 10% of all plastics used, the automotive market is the third biggest consumer, after packaging and construction.


Faced with unfair competition, however, regulatory constraints of this kind will not be enough to develop a sustainable industry, as the SRP (Syndicat national des Régénérateurs de matières Plastiques) points out. The public authorities therefore need to act in turn, by setting incorporation rates for recycled materials in all plastics-using sectors, while at the same time significantly tightening the conditions for importing low-cost virgin polymers from outside the European Union. Otherwise, the private investments made and the numerous public aids put in place will not have achieved all their stated objectives, in total contradiction with the speeches made.


Far be it from us to pit the doers against the sayers. The doers, like us, simply need facilitators, in the pursuit of the general interest. Because sustainable development concerns us all!