Better collection and sorting needed of HDPE and PP to meet targets

HDPE milk bottles

Plastic Recyclers Europe (PRE) has said that to meet EU recycling targets for HDPE and PP, there needs to be much better collection and sorting of these.

This is among the findings of a new report produced by PRE, HDPE & PP Market in Europe: State of Play.


HDPE and PP account for almost a third of European converters’ demand, according to PRE, with these predominantly used in packaging applications.

Out of the 16.7 million tonnes of these placed on the European market, an estimated 6.6 million tonnes of this are these rigid polyolefin packaging.

With the current EU recycling capacity for HDPE and PP at 1.2 million tonnes for post-consumer processing, and 0.5 million tonnes for pre-consumer packaging, the recycling facilities can treat approximately 18% of rigid polyolefin waste.

Therefore, there needs to be more done to support increase in European recycling capacity, according to PRE.

PRE PP/PO Working Group chairman Werner Kruschitz said: “Capturing additional tonnages and sorting out pots, tubs and trays, is just one of the examples of making the change.”

While PRE HDPE working Group chairman Herbert Snell added: “The recycled rigid polyolefins content must be widened. The existing trend of fully circular uses of rigid polyolefin reyclate, where rHDPE from bottles is used in bottle production, and HDPE and PP crates can be recycled back into crates, must continue to grow.”

The organisation said that making HDPE and PP fully circular depends on ensuring a product is readily recyclable to extract the highest value for the material and make recycling of it cost-effective.

But additionally, filling existing legislative gaps will be needed, including using public procurement.

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