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Report for Spain

The recycled plastic and virgin plastic markets are inextricably linked: one cannot be understood without the other. If demand for recycled plastic increases, it is because the price of virgin plastic is very high, because its supply is limited or because there is a regulation that requires its use.

Looking to the long term, Europe has ambitious regulations for which compliance is required by the year 2030. These regulations imply a promising future for the recycled plastic industry, with studies projecting annual growth of around 6%. This has encouraged the purchasing of related machinery. For the current year, the forecast is for a demand increase of between 5 and 10%.

In the short term, however, several factors may slow growth prospects. On the one hand, high energy costs are restricting profits in the industry at a time when it needs funds to make investments in its bid to meet Circular Economy goals. Many projects in the construction sector have been postponed owing to the diversion of funds towards defence while the lack of microchips in the automotive sector has led to a drop in vehicle production that is affecting suppliers of plastic components.

In general, industry is slowing owing to uncertainty and fears of global stagflation. But at the same time, long-term growth prospects are positive. To ensure this growth is realised, we have to create a solid market which takes into account the traceability of recycled plastic. If we manage to create a transparent market based on an exchange of information between companies regarding the origin of recycled material, then the recycled product obtained will be of a higher quality and a real Circular Economy will be guaranteed, reducing waste as much as possible.