European Standards support the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy

Another step on Europe’s path to circularity has been taken – and European standards have a key role to play. On 2 August 2022, the European Commission notified to CEN and CENELEC the new Standardization Request on plastics recycling and recycled plastics, in support of the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy. The Standardization Request – welcomed by CEN and CENELEC Technical Boards – is the result of two intense years of cooperation with the European Commission and the relevant stakeholders.

One of the main goals of the EU Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy is to facilitate a greater presence of recycled content in plastic products. To reach this goal, the Strategy calls for a series of actions: among them, a stronger focus on design-for-recycling for plastic products and on the quality of plastic waste and recyclates.


In December 2018, the European Commission launched the Circular Plastics Alliance (CPA) to mobilise action from all players in the plastic value chain, from plastic producers and designers, through brands and retailers, to recyclers. CEN and CENELEC, as two of the official European Standardization Organizations (ESOs), have joined the CPA and signed its declaration, endorsing the target that ten million tonnes of recycled plastics find their way into new products in the Single Market by 2025.

To meet this target, the Declaration recognised the need to update or revise European standardization deliverables, especially considering that plastics recycling is often taken care of by regional SMEs and public facilities which need cost-effective solutions to manage their operations and ensure consistency of their outputs.


The European Commission addresses this need through the Standardization Request. The document mandates CEN and CENELEC to revise 11 European Standards, as well as to develop around 45 new deliverables on quality grades for sorted plastic waste, characterisation of recyclates, and design-for-recycling guidelines for a wide range of products used in different applications – such as packaging, construction, electronic and electrical equipment, road vehicles, and agriculture.


Work on this Standardization Request will involve seven CEN Technical Committees and two CENELEC Technical Committees, all committed to deliver by August 2025 (the deadline stated in the Standardization Request):

Should you want to participate to this work, please get in contact with the CEN and/or CENELEC National Member in your country.




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