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EUMEPS and the French association ELIPSO are contributing to the development of an effective EPS and XPS recycling chain. This initiative meets the requirements of the French Climate and Resilience Act, which allows polystyrene-containing packaging to be recycled, provided that it can be integrated into a recycling chain. The latest tests carried out as part of the “CréaStyr” project set up by representatives of the industry have been conclusive in meeting the legal framework.

By 2025, the regulatory framework will allow the development of a high-performance recycling sector for household, industrial and commercial EPS and XPS packaging in France, provided that recycling takes place on an industrial scale. In addition, the position of COTREP (Comité technique pour le recyclage des emballages plastiques ménagers) also admits its feasibility, when stressing the need for in-depth tests and studies on the sorting behaviour of EPS and XPS packaging. Finally, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation already recognises the worldwide recyclability of EPS protective packaging based on government analysis reports.

In this context, the CréaStyr project aims to demonstrate the recyclability of household, industrial and commercial packaging made from XPS/PSE. This is a major initiative by manufacturers that aims to:

  1. Develop efficient collection and sorting of packaging made from EPS and XPS.
  2. Increase the recycling rate and ensure the sustainability of the sector.
  3. Actively measure, raise awareness and communicate on the environmental performance of EPS and XPS recycling.

Collection and sorting solutions already exist, whether in waste collection centres, port areas or national markets (MIN), as do solutions for integrating recycled materials (rPS) into XPS food packaging or EPS protective packaging.

The CréaStyr project tests, which are based on protocols that reflect the reality of collection, sorting and recycling processes in the industry, have produced highly satisfactory results in terms of the capture rate of EPS and XPS deposits and, more generally, recyclability. To corroborate these results, it should be stressed that the measurements taken by chemical and mechanical recyclers are very reassuring for all XPS/PSE packaging.

Government initiatives are underway to adapt the French sorting system, with the creation of specialised sorting facilities. These will further optimise the treatment of the various forms of XPS/PSE and, as a result, encourage the emergence of a recycling industry.

This is why EUMEPS and ELIPSO are calling on the public authorities not to kill the future of this sector by taking positions that are contrary to the framework provided by law, which offers the conditional possibility of developing such a sector, and whose deadline – it should be emphasised – is set at 2025.

All players and stakeholders must be aware of the importance of not compromising the future of XPS/PSE recycling, especially in the presence of positive test results.

EUMEPS and ELIPSO insist on the fact that any restrictive approach would send an unacceptable negative signal for the recovery of packaging made from XPS/PSE, not only household packaging but also a very large proportion of industrial and commercial packaging. Here again, EUMEPS and ELIPSO stress the need not to pre-empt the situation of industrial and commercial packaging (which is in excess in the case of EPS) by adopting restrictive positions on household packaging.

Elipso, EUMEPS, its partners and supporters* remain committed to promoting the responsible and efficient management of EPS and XPS. Thanks to their expertise and ongoing commitment, they will continue to support the development of a strong and competitive recycling industry for EPS and XPS packaging, in line with national and European regulatory frameworks.

*Léko, supplier of solutions for the collection and recycling of EPS and XPS, supports the Creastyr project