Flexible plastics in Europe’s circular economy

Flexible plastics
Mona Arnold (VTT), Shahrzad Manoochehri (WRFA), Margareta Wahlström (VTT), Dirk Nelen (VITO), Shane Colgan (EEA)
Publication Date
September, 2022
Language for original content
Key Area

Flexible plastics are used in many applications today and volumes have increased significantly over the last few decades. The major application area is packaging where, due to their light weight, they play an important role in preventing perishable products from degrading 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 have a range of issues that complicate recycling.

The report tells the story of flexible plastics, their main uses and current management options, and looks at their place in a European circular economy.