European plastics packaging manufacturers say they have mounting concerns about the growing export of plastics waste for recycling outside Europe and the knock-on effect on the region’s recycling industry.

Alexandre Dangis, managing director of the European Plastics Converters says: “EU member states should enforce stricter rules to stop plastics waste going to Asia and being landfilled.

“With the revision of the Packaging Waste Directive and the upcoming EU Enlargement the problem will worsen, causing further difficulties for plastics recyclers and packaging manufacturers. Many recycling companies will become unviable simply because they cannot get sufficient access to EU-generated waste. This problem is already evident.”

Dangis says while the EU has increased European plastics packaging recycling targets from 15 to 22.5%, there is no requirement to verify that conditions surrounding plastics recycling in Asia are comparable.

“In many European ports, ships destined for Asia laden with plastics waste are not properly controlled,” he adds. “The Packaging Waste Directive should be implemented in member states in the spirit of treating Europe’s waste in Europe, not Asia.”