Judl, Jáchym; Horn, Susanna
The use of single-use plastics is growing globally and concurrently with the increased consumption, also related waste flows are growing. Finland has a long tradition with a beverage packaging deposit scheme, but a separate collection of post-consumer plastic packaging waste was not introduced until in 2019. The separate collection system became immensely popular, and it keeps expanding. On the policy level, Finland follows EU’s targets for recycling plastics, which are tightening and in 2030, 55 % of plastic packaging should be recycled. Moreover, the recovery and recycling of non‐packaging plastics will have to improve due to changes in extended producers’ responsibility legislation. The changes in the societal and political landscape will impose a disruption to the current waste management scheme, resulting in a radical change in waste flow quantities and qualities, the occurrence of hazardous substances, waste collection and processing. The only commercially available recycling technology for post-consumer plastic packaging waste in Finland now is mechanical recycling. Regardless of the separate collection, high share of plastic waste still ends up in mixed municipal solid waste and is recovered for energy. With the expected increase in the collection rate and decreased quality of separated post-consumer plastic packaging waste, chemical recycling is anticipated to complement mechanical recycling. In our work, we employ the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to quantify climate impacts of post-consumer plastic packaging waste recycling in Finland in 2019. We construct a set of scenarios for the near future and compare the climate impacts consequences of those to baseline in 2019.