Headimage abstract

Associations demand recognition of mass balance

20 plastics supply chain associations are urging recognition of the mass balance approach to chemical recycling of plastic waste.


In an open letter, the signatory plastics and packaging industry associations call on EU member states to urgently anchor in law the fuel-use exempt mass balance method as a harmonised EU-wide mass balance method for the allocation of recycled content through chemical recycling. The signatories include for example Plastics Europe, Vinyl Plus, the Green Dot, FPE Flexible Packaging Europe and EuPC European Plastic Converters. All parties are convinced that this mass balance approach is in line with the recycling definition in the EU Waste Framework Directive. It is necessary in order to accurately calculate and verify the amount of recycled material allocated to products, says the letter. Chemical recycling, it said, allows the use of plastic waste, especially raw materials that are not suitable for mechanical recycling, to produce new chemicals, including plastics. In the process, chemically recycled raw materials would usually be mixed with new raw materials. However, the two raw materials could not be physically separated from each other once they were fed into large-scale plants, the associations argue. Under the mass balance method "fuel-use exempt", process losses and recycled secondary raw materials that go proportionately into the production of fuels are not counted as recyclate fractions in target products, the letter points out. Recycling efforts across the EU urgently needed to be stepped up and there was an urgent need for more investment in recycling and collection infrastructure, is added. While mechanical and other physical recycling technologies would continue to be expanded and developed, chemical recycling offered an opportunity to complement existing efforts to meet recycling targets and increase the amount of content recycled, it said. An estimated €8 billion of investment was planned by 2030, which could generate 2.8 million tonnes of recycled plastics through chemical recycling in EU Member States, the associations said. However, these planned investments would not be made if the legal framework did not allow for a mass balance method.
For more information, download the associations' open letter.

  • (16.10.2023)
  • Photo: Symbolic image, Pixelio, Dieter Schütz

Go back