The Chemical Recycling Europe (CRE) annual conference "Chemical Recycling: An Industry for the European Circular Economy" closed last Friday, 14th of October, with close to 200 attendees and engaging presentations and debates over two days. The success of the event demonstrates the interest and importance of chemical recycling to the plastics and packaging value-chain and how it plays a critical role in building the European circular economy.
Day one began with CRE President, Carlos Monreal, providing background on the chemical recycling industry and Chemical Recycling Europe, setting the stage for the key takeaways of the conference.
“The Chemical Recycling Europe Annual Conference was a perfect opportunity for CRE as an association to demonstrate our goals, our work on policy, and how we play a key part in the plastic waste and recycling landscape of the future” said Carlos Monreal, President CRE.
In the policy session, CRE welcomed Mr. Aurel Ciobanu-Dordea, Director Circular Economy, DG Environment at the European Commission, who spoke about the role and future of chemical recycling in the European circular economy. Although the path forward has challenges to overcome, Mr. Ciobanu-Dordea also indicated the importance of chemical recycling in Europe mentioning that “the EU is a good place to invest in chemical recycling”.
During the policy panel and discussion, great attention was paid to the importance of Mass Balance in fully implementing chemical recycling and circular plastics. Experts such as Mr. Paul Davidson, Director Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge from UKRI, and Mrs. Annick Meerschman, Innovation Director from Cefic, explained more clearly what it is and why it is so important.
“The CRE conference provided an excellent opportunity to have an expert discussion on how Mass Balance accounting could be used to unlock the potential role for chemical recycling in helping to tackle the scourge of plastics pollution”, said Paul Davidson, Director at UKRI.
The efficacious, transparent and consistent application of LCA methodologies to chemical recycling technologies was covered extensively during a session with Dr. Daria Fraczak, CRE Technical Working Group, welcoming both Sphera and Zero Waste Europe into an important discussion on the topic.
Both days included world class analysis of the chemical recycling industry and its growing place as part of the solution for plastic waste, the provision of recycled content and circular plastics to the value chain. The views of polymer converters, mechanical recyclers, waste management, polymer producers and brand owners, were all given time and added value to the discussion and to the content of conference.
Dr. Geoff Brighty, CRE Policy Working Group, took the opportunity to communicate CRE’s commitment to sustainability, the SDGs and the association’s alignment with various NGOs and stakeholders. This session closed with Mrs. Paula Chin from WWF who presented WWF’s 10 principles on chemical recycling, which was followed by a lively debate.
Work remains for the association as we move forward in building up the industry, but progress continues steadily.
Maurizio Crippa, CRE Vice-President, closed the conference with a positive outlook:
“Just over two years ago we had our first Chemical Recycling Europe conference here in Brussels. At that time, there we no NGOs, no one from waste management, and limited representation from the plastics value chain and other stakeholders. Today you are all here, and you are all welcome, and we look forward to working together in the future”.
Chemical Recycling Europe is already planning for the 2023 conference next year in Brussels.
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