Recycled content by means of mass balance: Joint call for EU-harmonised calculating rules
European Plastics Converters - EuPC - and 30 other plastics value chain associations, call on the European Commission and Member States to adopt during the present year, 2023, EU harmonised calculating rules for recycled content, by means of mass balance.
To achieve a circular economy for plastics, the use of recycled materials needs a boost. Alongside investments in climate neutral production and supply chains, greater support is needed to prevent waste generation, reuse plastics and the rapid scale-up of mechanical, organic and chemical recycling.
European plastics converters, manufacturers and users of plastic products or plastics packaging in all sectors are keen to significantly increase the supply and use of recycled plastics.
The undersigned associations call on the European Commission to select or develop an EU-harmonised calculation and verification method to stipulate how to allocate the input recycled content to the output products. We ask the Commission to urgently adopt a mass balance chain of custody to calculate chemically recycled content in plastics. Mass balance is a transparent and auditable method to trace a defined material characteristic along the value-chain from material suppliers to consumers. A mass balance chain of custody is already used and accepted in other domains such as sustainable forestry products and fair-trade cocoa and chocolate. To meet the 2030 recycled content targets, legal certainty on the Statement on policy framework needed to deliver recycled content in key plastics applications method is needed this year to ensure sufficient time to plan, finance, secure permits, and construct additional recycling units and accompanying infrastructure. Each of these steps can take several years.
An EU-harmonised calculation and verification method would also need to stipulate how to allocate the recycled content to the output products. In our view, a fuel-use exempt* model would provide for a robust system, viable with chemical recycling routes, and allow producers and users of recycled content to reach the levels expected by the market and required by EU legislation in a timely manner, so as to drive circularity to the next level.
In this context, third-party verification and certification of the calculation method will be necessary to ensure credibility throughout the whole value chain and build engagement and trust among consumers.
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*Fuel used as energy in the process and co-products produced and used as fuels are excluded, with the remaining outputs freely allocated.