Plastics Europe: New research outlines route to circular plastics


The Netherlands already has a leading position in Europe when it comes to recycling raw materials. Moreover, with its chemical, plastics and waste industries present, our country has all the assets to ensure that this will soon be the case for plastics as well. This is according to new KPMG research ‘Plastic raw materials for recycling in the Netherlands’which was handed to Focco Vijselaar, general director of VNO-NCW, today.

For new plastic, Dutch industry wants to switch from fossil to circular raw materials from, for example, plastic waste and bio-based raw materials. This has many climate benefits: from no longer burning plastic waste to using fewer fossil raw materials in new products. Yet there are still many obstacles to this. KPMG brought these into focus by actually investigating the supply of and expected demand for plastic waste for recycling. And then visualising (policy) options that can create a closed loop, so that plastic is maximally reused. After all, plastic waste is one of the main alternatives to fossil raw materials from oil. Sufficient availability is therefore crucial.

Much more plastic from waste needed for sustainability
The KPMG study makes it clear that there will be a serious imbalance between the expected demand for and supply of plastic waste in the coming years. Influenced by new European and national legislation, there will be ambitious obligations to use recycled raw materials (recyclate) in new products. The Dutch chemical and plastics industry is anticipating this and has concrete plans for multi-million investments in chemical recycling plants. This could double plastic waste recycling capacity to more than 2,200 kilotonnes by 2030. This is good news. However, KPMG also calculated that the availability (supply) of plastic waste will remain stuck at around 1,000 kilotonnes in 2030. This means that additional measures are needed to eliminate the shortage and ensure that the Dutch industry can meet European targets for climate-neutral production and a circular plastic chain.

“Waste processors, the chemical industry and the plastics industry are taking an important step towards green plastic with this study. By mass recycling plastic and working with chemical recycling, among other things, we become less dependent as Europe on all kinds of fossil raw materials from elsewhere in the world. On top of that, these innovations will give us the edge and keep our manufacturing industry competitive in the long run. That offers the best security for well-paid green jobs with less impact on the world and the environment in which people live and recreate.”

Focco Vijselaar – director VNO-NCW