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Report for Belgium

The final text of the EU’s new Waste Shipment Regulation (WSR) has been published and enters into force in May 2026. The new rules are aimed at easing transportation of waste for reuse and recycling within the EU and at ensuring that waste exported from the EU is managed in an environmentally sound manner in destination countries. This final version of the text confirms that the export ban for plastics will start from November 2026 and that recycling facilities located outside the EU but processing waste from the EU will be audited by an independent third party by May 2027. 

Meanwhile, the European Parliament adopted the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) on April 24 and the final version has been released recently. In the next edition of the Mirror, we will summarize the impact of this new regulation, paying special attention to two last-minute changes with major consequences for the recycling industry: the assessment of whether or not the 100% reuse target for wrapped films and straps is maintained for transportation within EU Member States; and the mirror clause conditions to import recyclates into the European market.  

In the plastic markets, a steady increase in the contract price of all PE film types has been seen since the beginning of the year, triggered by rising monomer prices. Producers were able to push the significant price increase onto converters who had to replenish their stocks.

The Red Sea situation seems to be normalizing, with Asia-Europe freight rates dropping to pre-crisis levels. This meant volumes of imported plastic arriving in Europe during the course of April, enabling converters to benefit from additional sources of supply and thus halting the price rally.

Although contract prices for all polyolefin resins are still rising, the spot market is already reacting to plentiful imports; compared to mid-March, prices have fallen by a minimum of Euro 22 per tonne for LDPE film, Euro 20 for HDPE injection and Euro 19 for PP copolymer.

With rising virgin plastic values, recyclers have been able to enforce higher prices for almost all standard recyclates. Despite higher recyclate prices, many converters were still reverting to recyclates to offset increased virgin prices. However, recyclers have remained cautious about upping output volumes as demand is still lower than expected for the time of year. Given expectations that virgin prices will fall in the coming weeks, recyclers are not out of the woods yet.

Xavier Lhoir

VALIPAC (BEL), Board Member of the BIR Plastics Committee


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