Impact of EU push on recycling unclear on Europe PMMA market

29 January 2018 11:47 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--Recycling has been a key topic across the plastics sectors in the last few weeks, with many not yet clear on how the renewed push from the EU to increase recycled and recyclable material will change the polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) market.

Producers are currently looking into the idea of a circular economy for the product, talking to recyclers, with some saying they are willing to invest in this area for the future.

The Commission’s new targets launched on 16 January – for 100% of plastic packaging to be recyclable and 55% actually recycled by 2030 – signal the regulator’s determination to crack down on plastic waste.

It is possible to recycle PMMA, through the cracking process, back into MMA. However, this is considered unfriendly for the environment given the energy that goes into the process.

This was mainly something that took place in China, with an estimated 100,000 tonne/year of MMA production linked to cracking PMMA.

However, this was stopped last year, because of the negative impact on the environment, with environmental inspections ramping up in the country.

PMMA can also be used as a burner, as it burns clean, and offcut product is commonly used as a filler.

PMMA is often used in sheet form as a lightweight or shatter-resistant alternative to glass. It is widely used in flat screen televisions.

By Katherine Sale