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Plastic scrap and the EU ambitious objectives for 2025

According to the last report of the Spanish association Cicloplast, 2,151 kt of plastic wastes or scrap are generated in Spain annually: 34 % of them are recycled, 17 % are energetically valorised and 49 % are landfilled. 

These figures show that Spain is one of the European countries leading in plastic materials recycling, only surpassed by Norway, Sweden, Germany and Ireland. However, it is behind on energy valorisation of wastes (only ahead of Bulgaria and Greece). 

The inflection point in the current situation of plastic wastes in Spain is going to be led by the Circular Economy Package approved by the European Commission in December 2015. New actions are included there in order to help European companies and consumers in the transition to a stronger circular economy, where resources are used in a more sustainable way. The actions suggested are contributing to closing the loop by means of an increased recycling and reusing

In this European initiative, the modification of different directives is considered: Waste Framework Directive, Packaging Directive, Landfill Directive, ELV Directive (End-of-Life Vehicle) and WEEE Directive (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment).

By means of the Landfill Directive modification, an objective is pursued: in 2030, the amount of plastic wastes dumped in landfills must be 10 %. Is it feasible? Where do the action of public administrations, industry and consumers must be led towards in order to achieve the objective? 

  1. Revision of the price of dumping wastes in landfills. In Spain, the management fees ranges currently from 14 to 65 euros per ton, depending on the Autonomous Community, whereas in the rest of Europe the average is more than 100 euros per ton. 

  2. Promotion of green public procurement and support to research in order to open up new markets for recycled plastic (e.g. recycled plastic for food use). 

  3. Furtherance of chemical recycling and energy recovery

  4. Environmental training campaigns to prevent and recycle. 

In the last years, good and many initiatives have been performed by Spain to be in the current recycling levels. Now is the moment to confront the challenge “Zero-Waste-to-Landfill”.