The PET recycling industry is threatened by persistent structural market failures across Europe, according to trade body EuPR.
It warns that current collection infrastructure has reached its limit with the collection of PET stagnating around 50 per cent, while the balance of uncollected PET is still landfilled or incinerated.
EuPR PET working group chairman Casper van den Dungen said: “Europe is not maximising the sustainable use of a valuable resource such as post-consumer PET.”
He added that intensive lightweighting and complex bottle design has increased substantially the average cost of recycling, which cannot be corrected by further economies of scale.
Additionally, recent years have seen an increase in demand for recycled PET and this has led to a significant increase in investments in many new recycling lines.
“The combined effect of these market failures are causing recycling plants to operate at well below 75 per cent of their capacity,” he said.
He is also concerned that duties to prevent virgin PET being dumped onto the market could also have an impact on recycled PET. He said: “Until today, PET has been an undisputed success and an example for sustainable development. It can remain so in the future if the collection moves upwards to another level and the virgin PET is fairly marketed.”