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Report for Spain

The high electricity prices now faced in Europe are directly affecting the plastics recycling industry. In most cases, these account for around 70% of operational expenditure for an industry that operates continuously, thus making it hard for companies to benefit from off-peak rates and thereby avoid the highest energy tariffs.

Several plastics recycling associations have been demanding energy subsidies - but without success.

Energy costs are suffocating businesses and the future for this market is not clear. Uncertainty over electricity pricing is impacting investment. Some companies have been forced to stop recycling because economic realities mean it is better for them to send the material to landfill or incineration.

A circular economy can be realised only if plastics recycling is profitable. For that to happen, regulation of energy costs is urgently needed. Given existing electricity pricing, Europe’s goal of climate neutrality by 2050 will become difficult to achieve.