A total of 60 billion PET bottles were recycled in Europe in 2012.
According to trade body Petcore Europe, as a result, all but two European Union countries have managed to recycle more PET bottles than the plastics recycling target.
Petcore Europe chairman Roberto Bertaggia said: “Despite the poor economic situation in the European region, the consumption of PET bottles is showing clear trends of penetration into new market segments through innovative packaging and the recognised capability of PET to be recycled. From a sustainability perspective, our industry is thrilled to have achieved an overall collection rate in 2012 or more than 52 per cent of all post-consumer PET bottles available in the region.
“With the exception of two members, all EU Member States managed to achieve PET recycling rates above the Packaging & Packaging Waste Directive target of 22.5 per cent for plastics.
Plastics Recyclers Europe PET chairman Casper van den Dungen added: “The overall European collection of PET bottles increased to 1.68 million tonnes reflecting an increase of 5.6 per cent compared to the previous year. This has helped to ease the overcapacity situation of recyclers with an average plant utilisation of 80 per cent.
“In 2012, the fibre market was still the single largest end-market for recycled PET, but strong growth in the sheet and bottle market are putting these three markets at similar levels.”