On March 30 2022, the European Commission presented a package of European Green Deal proposals to make “planet-friendly” products the norm in the EU, boost circular business models and kickstart what it terms the “green transition”.
Recycled polymer demand now clearly outstrips supply and it is just the beginning of the fight for recycled raw materials.
The Ukraine conflict and ongoing container crisis are increasing market tensions. And while plastics recyclers are enjoying the benefits of massive demand and extremely high prices, they are struggling at the same time to source feedstock to cope with this undoubted boom period.
Industries such as construction, manufacturing and fashion are now all seeking recycled polymer content, thus competing directly with packaging manufacturers who are subject to minimum recycled content regulations such as the Single-Use Plastics Directive in the EU. Consequently, the European Fruit Juice Association (AIJN), Natural Mineral Waters Europe (NMWE) and UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe have underlined the need to ensure resource-efficient waste management systems to enable closed-loop recycling and have called for “priority access” - or a similar mechanism that guarantees a “right of first refusal” to beverage producers to facilitate their fair access to the food-grade recycled materials coming from the products they placed on the market and which were successfully collected.
Container prices from Asia to Europe have seen a small decrease in recent weeks and are now around US$ 13,000 per 40-foot HQ and US$ 6000 per 20-foot. Meanwhile, recycled polymers such as rPET continue their pandemic-era rally that has sent prices to record levels all across the world.