According to Plastics Europe’s latest report, in 2021, 90 per cent of the world’s plastic production was fossil-based. Post-consumer recycled plastics and bio-based/bio-attributed plastics respectively accounted for 8.3 per cent and 1.5 per cent of the world’s plastic production.
The European Commission’s latest packaging and packaging waste regulations put forward measures that would bring greenhouse gas emissions from packaging down to 43 million tonnes compared with 66 million if we continue with business as usual. These measures are one of the many transformational steps we need to take as we continue developing innovative technologies to move humanity back from the brink.
In this regulation, PET, which is plastics most resounding success story so far, is within range of these new targets set at 30 per cent recycled content by 2030 moving to 50 per cent by 2050.
Food contact plastic packaging’s targets, on the other hand, reflect the belief that these are one of the more challenging materials to recycle back into food-grade resins. Now that we have the technologies to achieve this, the 10 per cent target set for 2030, shifting to 40 per cent by 2040, should be achievable and would mean we will be closing the loop on some 400,000 tonnes of food-grade plastic a year.