How do you assess the Polish recycling industry today?
In Poland, we are getting better at recycling. Today’s technology allows us to produce high quality recyclates with stable parameters. However, we must remember that recycling starts with collection and effective waste segregation. Systemic waste management solutions are necessary not only for recyclers but for the entire economy. Therefore, the emphasis should be on unifying regulations and educating the public. Coming back to the recycling industry, companies in Poland do not have as much production capacity as those in Western Europe, but we must find our advantage in the quality of recyclates and compete in this way. The demand for recycled material continues to grow, and there is also a lot of talk about the circular economy, which is also influenced by EU legislation. All this makes recyclates very popular.
We are in the TOP5 countries by in the European Union. What is our potential and where can we position ourselves?
Looking at the change in GDP per capita over the last 30 years, the Polish economy is growing the fastest of all EU countries. We are still an emerging market, so the potential for growth is huge. This is also confirmed by recent data - the unemployment rate in Poland is much lower than EU average. Coming back to the recycling industry, there is no denying that Polish regulations were modelled on Western solutions. We still need to transfer proven solutions to our ground, analyse and observe the current activities and draw conclusions to use this potential. Of course, the pillar in this matter is the EU legislation, which sets the path for the Member States to achieve a climate-neutral Europe.
And in your opinion, can Polish recyclates conquere foreign markets?
Of course, Polish recyclates can compete effectively with materials produced abroad. I can say that in the case of my company, the revenue structure indicates that domestic and foreign trade are of similar importance. As I mentioned earlier, our western competitors are often larger in terms of production capacity. However, we have access to the same technology and have developed our own know-how. Thanks to our lower production volume, we are also able to respond to the needs of processors by creating individual projects for them and thus compete in foreign markets.
What is the future of mechanical recycling? What are the threats and opportunities?
The processing of plastic waste is based on mechanical recycling. One thing needs to be said - if we are to meet EU plans for the recyclate content of new products we need to develop mechanical recycling. Western countries have much greater capacity, but overall Europe lacks capacity and an even distribution of capacity. Our industry is also very energy-consuming and there is considerable concern about this given the current energy market situation. However, the basis for setting the industry’s direction is legislation and the requirements for counting recycling levels.
So what does the plastics and recycling industry need to continue to grow?
Coherent legislation and consistency in its implementation. Although the effects of the waste management and recovery legislation introduced by European Union are visible in Western Europe, recycling levels are still low in Central Europe. As a recycling company, we operate with a long-term strategy and we need EU targets to be defined in this way as well. This allows us to better plan investments to increase European recycling capacity. And this brings us closer to the main goal of moving towards a circular and resource-efficient economy.