Recycling on the ropes, France has a plan to fix the industry
Low raw material costs have dealt a heavy blow to the recycling industry. The French recycling federation (FEDEREC) believes the sector needs a complete overhaul to stay afloat in the coming years.
FEDEREC published its view of the future of recycling in a white paper entitled "The recycling industry by 2030." In the preface to this 70-page document, a frank discussion of the problems facing the industry and how they might be solved, Corinne Lepage, a Republican politician, evoked a sector "devastated by an oil price that is so low that it is driving us back towards a linear economy, as it is cheaper today to buy primary raw materials than recycled raw materials".
But according to the former French environment minister, other factors also explain "this economic nonsense, which is made possible by an absence of pressure to absorb external costs, particularly the cost of carbon, which burdens recyclers and the whole of the reuse industry".
The once-flourishing recycling sector has been in stormy waters for several years. The white paper points to "decreasing volumes, falling raw material prices, pressure on selling prices, margin erosion, the appearance of new competitors and new rules, intensifying competition at all levels..."
With oil at only $35 per barrel, Yann Vincent, the coordinator of the white paper and president of FEDEREC's research and innovation committee, believes the industry must "find ways to rethink its activity".
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