NONTOX framework analysis and activities to enhance plastic recycling

NONTOX deliverable D5.1 presents the key areas of interest of the regulatory framework and operational environment in the EU, based on relevant existing directives and standards, with a special focus on criteria and requirements for the recycling of plastic waste containing hazardous substances.

The legislative framework includes key waste, product, and chemical legislation, as well as standards on recycling and End-of-Life products. This document can be used to guide relevant plastic value chain stakeholders to formulate an overview of the framework affecting operations and support further the familiarization of the actual legislative documents.

The deliverable follows a circular value chain approach, following the material from waste collection via recycling and upgrading to the use in production of a new product. The value chain is divided in four sections:
1) plastic processing and upgrade,
2) product manufacture,
3) consumption and use, as well as waste generation,
4) collection of waste and plastic pre-treatment, sorting and granulation.

Different legislation applies in different sections of the value chain. In the circular value chain, generated in NONTOX WP5 and presented in Figure 1, the European waste, chemical and product legislation, as well as standards, and their impact on the stages of the value chain are presented.

Figure 1 The value chain for the recycling of plastic waste containing hazardous substances, indicating the impact of the European waste, chemical and product legislation, as well as standards on the different stages of the value chain.

Increasing recycling rates and well-functioning markets for secondary raw materials are crucial for the implementation of a circular economy. The recycling targets set in the waste-specific Directives are posing new challenges for the coordination of the different objectives on waste, product and chemicals legislation, as the European product legislation sets limits for the use of specific compounds and materials in products, and the chemical legislation also for the treatment of waste containing hazardous compounds.