EU Regulations to Drive Discussion at IHS Markit K-Fair 2019 Briefing

21 September 2019

Stringent new plastics recycling targets announced by the European Union (EU) and the potential impact on the plastics market will drive much of the discussion during the IHS Markit Briefing Friday, 18 October, 2019, at K-Fair in Düsseldorf Germany, Europe’s longest running plastics conference. The event is hosted by global business information provider IHS Markit (NYSE: INFO).

Europeans generate 25 million tonnes of plastics waste annually according to the EU, but less than 30% of that waste is collected for recycling. The EU’s guidelines for recycling would require all plastic packaging to be 100% recyclable or reusable by 2030. An additional proposal seeks to ban single-use plastics (SUPs) (like wrappers, buds, straws, lids, bags, bottles, etc.) by 2021. The EU is also proposing to levy a tax of €800 per metric ton on unrecycled plastics, with the aim of bridging some budget gaps and improving recycling infrastructure.

According to a recent IHS Markit report on sustainability: Plastics Sustainability - A Sea Change: Plastics Pathway to Sustainability, global plastics demand will grow from nearly 185 million metric tons (MMT) in 2017 to more than 300 MMT by 2030—fueled by growing demand from rapidly expanding middle-class populations in China, India and elsewhere.

However, rapidly expanding plastics bans in Europe and elsewhere, particularly for SUPs, pose a significant threat to future demand for plastics producers. And the potential exists to cut plastics demand growth in half by the 2030 to 2035 timeframe, IHS Markit said.

“As announcements of additional polyolefins capacity and images of plastic pollution share the headlines globally, the need for a differentiated and sustainable plastics industry is emerging,” said Nick Vafiadis, vice president of plastics at IHS Markit.

“The transition from a linear (“take-make-dispose”) economy to a circular economy (“recover-innovate-reuse”) represents a shift to ensure industry sustainability and value creation. During the IHS Markit Briefing at K-Fair, we will explore the market implications and offer forecasts for the various plastics segments.”

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