ETC/CE Report 4/2022 Flexible plastics in Europe’s circular economy

28 Sep 2022

Mona Arnold, Shahrzad Manoochehri, Margareta Wahlström, Dirk Nelen, Shane Colgan

Flexible plastics are used in many applications today and volumes have increased significantly in the last decades. The major application area is packaging where, due to their light weight, they play an important role in preventing perishable products degrade and in lowering the carbon footprint of transport. However, their potential for reuse is limited and most applications of flexible plastics are single-use, so they represent a waste of resources. At end of life, they are often carelessly discarded causing litter in marine and terrestrial environments, and they present a range of issues that complicate recycling.

This report aims to give an overview of flexible plastics in its position in a circular economy.