PCEP’s first Annual Conference moved into a higher gear

The very first PCEP (Polyolefin Circular Economy Platform) Annual Conference was a success. It featured talks from more than 15 speakers working in the circular economy and had around 100 attendees.

Venetia Spencer, PCEP Secretary General, kicked off this year’s edition. She highlighted in her inspirational speech both the challenges and the opportunities linked to turning the global polyolefin industry into a circular economy. Venetia also took stock of the advances made since last year and how PCEP is making good progress towards its ambitious Voluntary Commitments.

The first half a day started with setting the scene at the start of this EU legislature. Paolo Da Silva Lemos, Policy Officer, DG Environment, European Commission, said that PCEP has the ideas and we need to put them into practice. Michael Scriba, mtm plastics and Chair PCEP WG “Enhancing Collection & Sorting” shared best practices in collection, sorting, recycling and design for recyclability. Gian De Belder, Packaging Technologist, P&G, presented the Holy Grail 2.0 project and showed its technology based on digital watermarks that enable higher recycling rates for packaging in Europe.

The afternoon started with an insightful speech by Willemijn Peeters, CEO Searious Business. She said that companies can be agents of change in making plastics’ use more sustainable. The other sessions focused on the PCEP Roadmap 2030 as well as opportunities for improving polyolefins recycling in different sectors.

Venetia Spencer, PCEP Secretary General, said: “We were delighted to see so much interest from the participants in getting involved in key issues related to the circularity of polyolefins. We hope to have contributed to boosting their knowledge and we are looking forward to working with each of them in driving together a circular polyolefin system. Only by building synergies we will succeed.”

PCEP Chairman David Baker closed the conference with his thoughts on the day: “Looking behind at the past year, I am very proud of what we achieved so far. We need to make the most of the current challenges and turn them into opportunities. We have a strong basis to work on and we need to continue in this direction.”

PCEP has three strategic goals: 

   designing out waste; 

   keeping maximum products and materials in use; and 

   recycling into high-quality new raw materials.

Today, not all packaging is easily recyclable due to systems and technological limits. Design considerations are often more orientated towards how polyolefins are used and do not fully consider recyclability, quality, collection and sorting after use. 

PCEP works with all relevant stakeholders to establish ways to enhance collection and sorting systems, an essential step towards quality recycling.

Together, we have voluntarily committed to increase the use of recycled polyolefin, with a target in Europe of 3m tonnes by 2025. We have also committed to reuse or recycle 60% of collected polyolefin packaging and to ensure more than 75% of polyolefin packaging is actually designed for recycling.https://pcep.eu/circular-polyolefins

Written by Kevin Gambrill