the use of recycled plastic by French manufacturers is decreasing

The fall in oil prices threatens the balance of the circular economy in France. According to the federation of recycling companies, today manufacturers produce with less recycled material, especially plastic.


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France recycles on average less than 30% of its plastic packaging, far from the 65% target set by Brussels for 2025. (PATRICK LEFEVRE / MAXPPP)

The recent drop in oil prices, from 84 dollars per barrel of Brent on April 6, 2023 to 77 dollars the following July 6, is harming the circular economy in France.

According to FEDEREC, the professional federation of recycling companies, because of these reduced costs, French manufacturers today use less recycled material, in particular for the benefit of virgin plastic, a petroleum-based product and therefore much more polluting. than recycled plastic.

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Profitability trumps sustainability

In Alsace-Lorraine, Schroll, a family group, collects and sorts yellow bins, in order to recycle. However, for several months, the commercial director, Hugues Bapst, finds himself with bundles of plastic bottles: they can be recycled very well, but the plastic manufacturers have changed their habits. “We end up with stocks, since demand has fallen sharply, explains the sales manager.

“Our industrial customers tell us ‘we have little need, we have less need’. We have quite a few colleagues who are also faced with this situation and the raw material is starting to pile up a little in our depots. “

Hugues Bapst, commercial director of Schroll

at franceinfo

The federation of recyclers suspects the drop in oil prices. As a result, the price of virgin plastic has plunged, and it is becoming more profitable to do with virgin material rather than with recycled regrets the CEO of FEDEREC, François Excoffier: “If the raw material is cheaper than the recycled material, the manufacturer, instead of buying for 100, buys for 90. The consumer putting pressure on the price, it is necessarily an economic model!”

The packaging sector is particularly targeted. Today, there is not yet an obligation for manufacturers to incorporate recycled plastics, it will come from 2025. For the moment, these are only commitments.

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