Europe’s Plastic Recycling Crisis: A €8 Billion Funding Gap

A combination of new policies and development, as well as greater capacity and innovation in plastic recycling, is required to achieve a sustainable and circular plastics economy. The European Investment Bank has published new research examining inefficiencies in the plastics value chain and solutions to overcome them.

The report notes that plastic packaging contributes the most to the plastic waste problem, with 25 companies responsible for half of global plastic production. The top contributors are Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé, and Danone. Despite their efforts in plastic recycling, their contribution is not enough.

Implementing a fully circular economy in the plastics sector is essential due to the increasing complexity of the underlying connections. The report highlights the importance of addressing the investment gap estimated between €6.7 and €8.6 billion to achieve Europe’s goal of bringing 10 million tonnes of recycled plastic to the EU market in final products.

The biggest gaps in plastic sorting and recycling occur in Central and Eastern Europe and South-Eastern Europe. Policy measures, such as legislative actions and financial instruments, are necessary to improve recycling rates.

To achieve these goals, policy recommendations include legislative actions to address the problem of difficult-to-recycle plastic packaging, restrictions on composite packaging, and the introduction of recycling quotas, as well as public awareness campaigns.

Financial recommendations include loans to corporate and mid-cap companies, local and state governments, and support for research, development, and innovation related to plastic recycling.

The European Investment Bank’s Digital Finance and Innovation Advisory Unit prepared the report, which concludes with financial recommendations to combat plastic pollution both in the European Union and beyond.

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