Interview with Vicente Olmos in the new issue of the AVEP Magazine

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The new issue of the AVEP magazine is now available. It features Vicente Olmos Jorge, General Manager of SINTAC, on the occasion of his recent appointment as Ambassador of the Recycled Plastics Industry 2024 in Europe.

Throughout the interview, the main challenges faced by the recycled plastics sector and the role played by the public administration in it are addressed. It also discusses how the sector and public policies should act so that recycling becomes the best ally towards Circular Economy models and the decarbonization of the economy.

“A plastics recycling that still has a lot to say and contribute, contributing to an increasingly circular industry.”

What has it meant for you to receive this recognition?

I am very grateful for this recognition of my professional career that began in Germany more than 30 years ago and continued in Spain, from where I am still active on an international scale, mainly within the EU.
After more than three decades fighting for the recycled plastics industry, seeking to give a second life to plastics, it is gratifying to see all the efforts and hard work being recognized on an international level. This award is a great opportunity to raise our voice and give visibility to the tireless commitment of plastics recycling companies, especially those from Valencia, to Sustainability and the Circular Economy.In addition, being named European Ambassador for the Recycled Plastics Industry is a great motivation for me and my company, to continue to move forward in promoting the recycling of plastics that still has much to say and contribute, contributing to an increasingly circular plastics industry.

In your opinion, how has the plastics recycling sector evolved so far and how would you describe the current situation?

The plastics recycling industry has come a long way, especially in the last decade. Europe has an annual plastics recycling capacity of 12.5 million tons, double what it was five years ago, and employs more than 30,000 people. Spain, together with Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and the United Kingdom, accounts for 50% of total capacity. Our goal is that, by 2050, the use of recycled plastic in new products will exceed that of fossil-based plastics.
In terms of machinery, there have been major advances that have made it possible not only to improve the quality of recycled polymers, but also to make them cleaner and more value-added for use in increasingly demanding applications and markets.
Recycling facilities have undergone a major transformation, making Spain one of the regions with the highest plastics recycling capacity in Europe, behind Germany and ahead of Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

At 2022, 1.5 Mtons of plastic were processed in Spanish plastic recycling plants, contributing to a reduction in GHG emissions in 2022, thus contributing to a reduction in GHG emissions in 2022.
Within the GCR group, to which SINTAC belongs, a large investment has been made and this year 2024 we are going to inaugurate the largest recycling plant in Spain and one of the largest in Europe.
On the other hand, we have detected an improvement in the material resulting from the selective collection of waste for recycling, due to the growing environmental awareness in society, as well as important technological innovations in the sorting plants. While it is true that the current situation of the industry is complicated, I believe that the outlook for the future is promising and that good times are ahead for our sector. I am confident that next year the market will improve and allow us to continue growing. However, for this to happen, the support of the public administration will be decisive, in the application of a robust
the application of robust legislation to support the sector.

What are the main challenges facing the sector and what role does the public administration play in them?

From my point of view, there is one main challenge facing the sector, being that the recycled plastic industry requires that very specific regulations be defined to support all those companies that, like SINTAC Recycling, promote the commercialization of recycled materials in order to minimize the consumption of virgin raw materials, avoid intrusions in the market, promote the Circular Economy and minimize Greenwashing practices. In this sense, we support Directive 2024/825, which limits misleading practices in product advertising, and the European Packaging Regulation, which is expected to be published this year, as long as it does not discriminate some materials against others.
From our Projects and Circular Economy Department, we are helping companies in the packaging value chain to comply with their legal responsibilities derived from the legal framework in Spain from the year 2022. We coordinate several multi-stakeholder projects for the implementation of EPRs Collective Systems for certain plastic products, such as industrial and commercial packaging and mattresses, among others.

PRSE Europe has experienced remarkable growth and has also gone international, why do you think this is? Is it a symptom of growth in the sector?
growth in the sector?

It is true that the PRSE show has experienced tremendous growth. It is undoubtedly a symptom of growth in the sector. We at SINTAC have been participating as an exhibitor company since the first edition of the fair, and I still remember when the first year we did not reach a hundred first year we did not even have a hundred exhibiting companies. After many editions and a great expansion of the fair, this year 2024 we have reached 480 exhibitor companies, an unquestionable growth exhibitors, an indisputable growth, which is largely due to the fact that it is the only fair dedicated solely and exclusively to recycled plastic. We have always supported the fair and I would like to acknowledge the work done by the entire PRSE team to be able to bring together year after year to bring together the leading companies in the sector. My most sincere congratulations to the entire PRSE team, as well as to the team at Plastics Recyclers Europe, who are the main promoters of the fair in Amsterdam.

From the recycler’s perspective, how should the sector and public policies evolve in order for recycling to become the best ally towards circular economy models and the decarbonization of the economy?

From the recycler’s perspective, how should the sector and public policies evolve in order for recycling to become the best ally towards circular economy models and the decarbonization of the economy?
As I was saying before, SINTAC’s raison d’être is the absolute commitment to the achievement of a circular economy of plastics. We promote the recovery, treatment and recycling of plastics for more than three decades. However, we cannot do it alone. The industry needs to evolve and involve all companies in the sector throughout the companies along the entire value chain to show their involvement in a proactive manner. In addition, public policies must accompany and promote this evolution, so that recycling becomes the best ally towards circular plastics models and the decarbonization of the economy. The support, in terms of regulations, should encourage the maximum use of waste into raw materials, thereby reducing the unnecessary use of resources. Companies should also be rewarded for those companies that sustainable production, eco-design practices that facilitate recyclability and the consumption of recycled material, and even companies that do not do so should be penalized.

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