The use of plastics continues to rise because of their versatile properties such as strength, flexibility, and low weight. Today, we use 350 million tonnes of plastics. This is expected to increase to more than 1 billion tonnes by 2050 and causes major challenges, including plastic waste, the use of fossil resources and CO2 emissions.
A systemic transition is necessary.
Europe aims to recycle 50% of all plastics by 2025, and raises this goal to 55% by 2030 – and it is even higher for packaging waste. However, there is a long way to go before these goals are achieved. In 2019, less than 33% of plastic waste collected in Europe went on to be recycled.
The plastics industry is well-represented here in Limburg: our province is home to 84 plastics processing companies, accounting for 4,300 jobs. Add to this 18 companies active in plastics recycling, accounting for around 200 jobs. The plastics industry also has a strong presence in nearby areas such as the Antwerp Kempen, Eindhoven and Aachen.
In order to improve the Integration of the Limburg plastics value chain, POM Limburg encourages collaboration between various stakeholder in the ‘plastics community’. These are:
- Plastics producers
- Plastics processors
- Waste collectors
- Plastics recycling companies
- Trade federations
- The government
- Knowledge and research institutions
In this community, the stakeholders share knowledge and information to tackle the issues that are part of the plastics industry. What’s more, they start up new collaborations or projects, and accelerate the innovation that will lift the plastics industry to a higher level. By focusing more on recycling, the new community can also leverage the transition to more sustainable industry.