EU – PET bottle collection in Europe increased by 6.5% in 2010 to reach 1.45 million tonnes, according to a study commissioned by European plastics recycling association EuPR and PET container organization Petcore.
According to the study by PCI PET Packaging, Resin and Recycling Ltd, all but two of the surveyed countries had collection rates above the 22.5% target for plastic recovery set by the Packaging Waste Directive; some EU countries have collection rates in excess of 70%.
Petcore chair Robert Bertaggia said the study results are “excellent”.
“With every European country collecting PET bottles, the high year on year increases of earlier years had to fall, but the 6.5% increase in 2010 is an excellent result.”
He added, “The PET industry chain has worked with compliance agencies, national bodies and European recyclers to achieve a collection rate of nearly 50% of all PET bottles placed on the market.”
However, the overall collection rate of 48.3% for 2010 did not increase on the previous year.
The two trade bodies estimate the total mechanical reclamation capacity in Europe is 1.7 million tonnes.
“Capacity utilisation of our recycle plants is only 79% at present. This provides the challenge for municipalities, other collectors and industry to increase the current collection rate beyond 50% to load the recycling facilities already in place,” said EuPR working group chair Casper van den Dungen.
In terms of reuse, about 25% of blowmoulding outlets’ rPET output - or 250,000 tonnes - was used to produce containers. The amount of rPET used in the amorphous PET (APET) sheet market though fell by 25,000 tonnes – due in part to higher volumes of sheet imports into the EU.
Price was also a contributing factor: “The price of suitable quality rPET almost matched that of virgin PET for most of the year,” said the two associations.
Exports of collected PET to the Far East fell for a second year to 13% and imports of baled PET bottles from outside the region were also down.
Petcore (PET containers recycling Europe) is a non-profit European trade association based in Brussels. Its mission focuses on sustainable growth for post consumer PET collection whilst supporting all PET recycling processes as a key integrated part of European Plastics Waste Management initiatives and by validating and supporting innovative PET solutions from a recycle perspective.
EuPR is the professional representative body of plastics recyclers in Europe. EuPR promotes plastics mechanical recycling and conditions that enable profitable and sustainable business, while offering a service platform to its members. EuPR members constitute 80% of the European recycling capacity, processing more than 5 million tonnes of collected plastics per year.