MBA Polymers champions EU plans to boost the circular economy through plastics recycling

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Leading plastics recycling firm MBA Polymers is lending its full support to the European’s Parliament’s plans to ban toxic plastics and introduce binding targets on recycling plastic waste. The EU’s renewed focus on recycling is a direct response to growing concerns over the detrimental effects of plastic waste to the environment and human health, and is intended to accelerate Europe’s journey towards a prosperous circular economy. Fully enforcing EU legislation on waste could save €72 billion a year and create over 400,000 jobs by 2020. Now, innovation and investment are needed to make this a reality, says MBA Polymers.

“With just 25% of Europe’s plastic waste currently being recycled, there is a significant opportunity for European businesses to increase their recycling capabilities and develop the infrastructure we need to recycle more plastics within our borders,” explains Mike Biddle, founder, MBA Polymers. “We have the technology to recycle complex plastic waste streams, but to harness its full potential, scale is vital. Innovation, strong policies and economic incentives are fundamental to growing the European recycling industry and transforming larger quantities of waste into valuable raw materials.”

Under the new proposals, 80% of plastic waste would be collected and sorted, with clear, mandatory criteria introduced to define which plastics should be recycled. In this way, the EU aims to phase out the landfilling of Europe’s recyclable and recoverable waste by 2020 and discourage incineration. Single-use plastic bags would be banned, along with hazardous plastics. MEPs also intend to take bolder steps to reduce Europe’s heavy reliance on exporting plastic waste to overseas recyclers.

“We welcome the EU’s stance on tackling illegal waste exports and preventing the dumping of plastic waste,” continues Biddle. “By developing a large scale, high technology and highly regulated recycled industry in Europe, businesses and consumers will have far more clarity on how their waste is processed. Currently, we have little visibility of how plastics are recycled in developing countries such as China, where reports abound of environmentally harmful recycling techniques. Recycling more waste in Europe would allow companies to take greater responsibility for their products, from design to disposal and beyond.”

MBA Polymers is supporting the EU’s drive to increase plastics recycling by maintaining a strong dialogue with the UK Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable. MBA CEO Nigel Hunton met Mr Cable in October 2013 to discuss how investment in the UK recycling industry could be incentivised. MBA is also calling for zero VAT to be introduced on products made from recycled plastics.

Through its investment in a high tech recycling plant in the UK, MBA Polymers has achieved a recycling rate above 70% for recyclable end-of-life vehicle (ELV) waste, proving the strong potential of advanced recycling techniques in waste reduction. Additionally, with the energy savings offered by high quality recycled plastics (recycled plastics can save up to 80% of CO2 compared to virgin plastics), manufacturers using secondary raw materials stand to reduce the environmental footprint of their products.

“We must work together to help the EU make their new proposals a reality,” concludes Biddle. “Businesses, politicians, NGOs and consumers have a real opportunity to collaborate and support the changes we need to ensure Europe’s future is based firmly on a thriving circular economy, where waste becomes a thing of the past.”