Mass balance allocation

20 February 2024


Mass balance allocation - we might have some valuable news soon - not a final decision but after months of speculation it looks as if the direction the European Commission will choose regarding mass balance allocation rules for chemical recycling could become much clearer.

The Waste Technical Adaptation Committee is meeting today to discuss a draft document which is said to suggest the fuel-exempt allocation method. This follows speculations last December that the polymers-only model was the Commission's favourite choice.

Not everyone will be happy with the fuel-exempt model which has, not unjustifiable so, raised concerns about potential greenwashing. But as I have stated in other places, the European Commission has formulated ambitious recycled content targets which for some forms of packaging cannot be achieved with mechanical recycling alone. Thus the die has been cast and the contribution of the chemical recycling industry is required to reach these targets.

The industry can only grow and develop to make its contribution if it has operating conditions that allow it to operate profitably for which, at the current stage of industry development and against the background of current economic conditions, a polymer-only approach would likely prove to be too restrictive.

We will have to sit on the edge of our chairs a bit longer to see what the final outcome will be but, in the meantime, it is up to the regulators as well as the chemical recycling industry and its entire value chain to ensure accountability and traceability of recycled materials.

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Silke Einschuetz
Senior Consultant Recycling & Sustainability