By 2025, 50% of plastic waste will have to be recycled - a decision taken at European level and which has been introduced into Luxembourg legislation. However, only 32.4% of plastic packaging in Luxembourg was recycled in 2018.
In addition, 19,500 tonnes of plastic still end up in the household waste bin, meaning that there is still a lot of room for improvement in the Grand Duchy.
How this will actually work in a practical sense is not entirely clear yet. A second pilot project is currently assessing the benefits of allowing people to put a greater variety of plastic products inside the blue Valorlux bag. According to the engineering office supervising the project, collection is most effective when collecting waste from people's homes, whereas the results of the drop-off at recycling centres are not as satisfactory. Door-to-door collection should therefore be reinforced.
Another idea also calls for the expansion of recycling centres across the country to provide more incentives for citizens to take their plastic waste to them. However, the director of Valorlux is not entirely convinced of this idea. According to him, 10,000 tonnes are collected door-to-door while the various centres reach 1,000 tonnes, so the capacity of the recycling centres would have to be multiplied by ten in order to achieve the same result. In addition, this idea would require an increased effort by citizens, and many people are likely not willing to make this extra effort.
Nevertheless, the Minister for the Environment seems to favour the solution of recycling centres because the separation of materials must be done properly in adequately equipped facilities. According to Carole Dieschbourg, the Ministry has to collaborate with the municipalities, in order to check what is collected, how it is collected and the accessibility of the centres with timetables adapted to the citizens.
In addition to the capacity of the centres, the director of Valorlux also points out the fact that recycling criteria are going to become more and more strict in the future. According to him, even more collection and recycling will be necessary if Luxembourg wants to reach the rates imposed by the EU.
Based on the fact that in 2018, 17% of household waste was plastic packaging that could have been recycled, Luxembourg still has every chance of success, whether by banking on door-to-door collection or new and improved recycling centres.