Operationalisation of new plastic value chains for a circular economy

Karl Vrancken

by Karl Vrancken, Research Manager Sustainable Materials, VITO / Professor, University of Antwerp

Europe is at a crossroads for the way it manages plastic, plastic waste, and plastic waste trade. Plastic and plastic waste is traded worldwide. Exports from the EU to Asia have been a means to deal with insufficient recycling capacities in the EU. Waste import restrictions in China and Hong Kong have triggered a shift of exports to other countries.

Since some types of plastic waste have been added to the UN Basel Convention, the option of exporting plastic waste is becoming increasingly difficult, requiring to build a more robust and circular economy for plastic in Europe.

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