5 quick facts about recycling of durable plastics

Published 8 September 2020
We can see the headlines everywhere: there is too much plastic in the world, the amount is growing, and it is polluting our environment and takes centuries to degrade. The response to the growing problem is often “better product recycling”. Recycling of plastics however is a tricky business.

Most plastics being mechanically recycled today is plastics for packaging (one-time use). In Europe an estimated 30-35% of all plastic packaging is mechanically recycled.

An estimated 45-48% of plastic demand in Europe today is coming from non-packaging items and most of these products will not be recycled back into plastics. Instead most of this plastic continues to end up on a landfill or best case being incinerated.

Five things to remember about durable plastics and recycling

  • 30-35% of all durable plastics in Europe goes for energy recovery. This is most common in countries with landfill bans in place.
  • Less than 5% of durable plastics in Europe is being mechanically recycled today.
  • The biggest outlet is still today, landfill and leakage, accounting for 35-40% in Europe.
  • Greatest potential for improvement is to design closed loops for durable products.
  • Durable plastics should never be thrown in recycling schemes stating, “plastic packaging”. It does not improve the output.

To provide a sustainability improvement for durable plastic products require designers, brand owners, producers and consumers to think differently. Less focus on materials ability to mechanically recycle and more focus on the ability on re-use and durability.

We all have an important role to make this happen. In Biocomposites we work closely with the plastic value chain to design closed loops as we truly believe this is the most sustainable way to reduce environmental impact of plastic products over time. DuraSense®, does not only reduce the carbon foot print significantly vs. a fossil-based material, it also offers excellent suitability for reuse with reprocessing possibility up to seven times.

Join us on our journey to replace plastics.