In December 2015, the European Commission (EC) adopted an ambitious Circular Economy Package.In January 2018, the EC presented the “European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy” as a part of the transition towards a more circular and resource efficient economy.
A circular economy aims to minimise the generation of waste and to maintain the value of products, materials and resources as long as possible in the economy. A transition from a linear to a circular economy is an opportunity to generate new and sustainable competitive advantages.
The plastics strategy has four pillars:
- Improve the economics and quality of plastics recycling
- Curb plastic waste and littering
- Drive investments and innovation towards circular solutions
- Harness global action
- The European institutions reached agreement on this file in December 2018.
The European (petro)-chemical industry is strongly committed to sustainability, health and environmental protection and fully supports the Commission’s initiative.
The (petro)-chemical industry in Europe has already a proven track record of embracing the essence of the concept (preserve and enhance natural capital, optimise resource yields and foster system effectiveness) as an essential pillar of its business models. Managing cost is key to competing in global markets. This driver, coupled with the environmental benefits of the circular economy, explains why petrochemical producers in Europe see such opportunity in these efficiency steps.
Petrochemicals also act as enablers for the circular economy driving resource efficiency of downstream user industries as well as other consumers, for example by providing the essential building blocks for reducing waste (via ultra-thin packaging material like foils), increasing energy efficiency (for example via insulation material), reducing emissions (via renewable energy devices like solar panels and windmill blades) and fuel consumption (via additives), or enhancing the convenience of every-day products (for example light-weight plastics instead of heavy components).