Plastic waste piling up at recycling companies
Thousands of big bags of shredded plastic waste are piling up at recycling companies. The low oil price and the coronavirus crisis resulted in the demand for recycled plastic plummeting to such an extent that recycling companies can no longer get rid of their shredded plastic, trade association NRK Recycling said to De Monitor.
NRK Recycling warned the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management about this problem in April, chairman Ben Kras said to De Monitor. "The recyclers are offered a lot of waste plastic, such as garden furniture and lower pots. But because the demand for the end product - the plastic recyclate that serves as a raw material for various uses - continues to decrease, sales are a major challenge for the industry."
The coronavirus pandemic plummeted the demand for plastics in the floriculture, automotive, consumer, and construction sectors. But the situation was already dire when the crisis hit due to the low oil price, Kras said. Plastic is made from oil, so if the oil price is low, new plastic is cheap. According to Kras, less than 10 percent of plastic products in the Netherlands are currently made from recycled plastics. "Unfortunately, companies often opt for the cheaper new plastic. If there is no economic benefit to recycle, the market will do its job."
The recyclers therefore call on the government to set a minimum limit for the use of recyclate in plastic products like vacuum cleaners, crates and shampoo bottles.
State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven of Infrastructure and Water Management told De Monitor that she is looking for someone to take the shredded plastic piling up at recycling companies.