BIR report shows skill shortage in EU

The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) has released its BIR World Mirror on Plastics report, which shows “severe” shortages of qualified personnel in the plastics recycling industry in Europe.

Although the market for recycled plastics in Europe is said to have improved since the beginning of the year, it’s only slight. The report, compiled by BIR’s Plastics Committee, said prices are “reasonably stable” at present, although HIPS regranulate and PET natural prices have increased recently.

BIR said that chemical recycling could be “on the verge of a worrying breakthrough” because the European Commission appears likely to apply a “mass balance approach” to its recycling calculations. The Bureau noted that this creates an “uneven playing field” between mechanical and chemical recyclers.

The report also states that Europe is expected to become “increasingly dependent” on imports.


With the final text of the EU’s new Waste Shipment Regulation set to be enforced in May 2026, the export ban for plastics will start from November 2026. This means that recycling facilities located outside the EU, but processing waste from the EU, will be audited by an independent third party by May 2027.

Meanwhile, the EU’s new Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation has introduced stringent recycled content requirements but also compliance measures for imports into the EU, which BIR said may “significantly impact” rPET exports from Asia to Europe.

Asian exporters are set to face the challenge of aligning with these standards to maintain access to the European market for customers looking at meeting minimum recycled content criteria.

The conflict in the Middle East has reportedly served to “undermine” market conditions in the region since the latter part of this year’s first quarter. Impacts are said to have included delayed shipments and slow payments.

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