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Not quite 100%: The importance of transparency in non-mechanical recycling

There is a gap between supply and demand when it comes to recycled materials. This report provides the results from a survey and in-depth interviews with several major consumer product brands (the demand side), regarding the current state of play for recycled plastics, as well as future needs and demands.

To the brands, the importance of supply chain transparency, stricter standards, and correct information regarding actual recycled content far outweigh the “100% recycled” labels that suppliers go out of their way to achieve.

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Our view on Safe and Sustainable by Design criteria

Hazardous chemicals are a direct threat to human health and the environment and can therefore never be identified as safe and sustainable. The safe and sustainable by design criteria should be ambitious and comprehensive. However, in order to introduce the criteria as soon and efficiently as possible, the most important parameters should be included first.

When is it justified to use very hazardous chemicals?

In which products and processes can we accept the use of toxic substances? This is a burning hot question in the chemicals policy debate. The Chemical Strategy acknowledges the urgency to speed up the phaseout of hazardous chemicals, and one important step in that direction is to allow the most harmful chemicals only for “essential use”.

What goes around

Increased use of virgin materials and low recycling levels show that a circular economy is far from being realised. The presence of chemicals of concern in materials is an im­portant reason for this. Mechanical recycling will remain the main recycling technology for the foreseeable future, which makes establish­ing non­toxic waste streams the key to scaling up the circular economy.