Plastics Europe report shows 15% increase in use of post-consumer plastic across Europe


A report from Plastics Europe has shown that the use of post-consumer plastic in new products has grown by 15% to 4.6 million tonnes across Europe.

This includes European Union countries as well as UK, Switzerland and Norway.


The Circular Economy for Plastics – A European Overview looked at the collection and production of recycled plastics across Europe in 2020 – a year affected by the Covid pandemic.

Despite this, the production of post-consumer recycled plastics increased by 12% compared to 2018.

With the quantity of post-consumer going to recycling facilities rising by 8% compared to 2018, the recycling rate also increased to 35%. However, as pointed out by the report, 65% of post-consumer plastics are still sent to landfill or incineration.

For plastic packaging as a whole, the report indicates an overall European recycling rate of 46% in 2020 compared to 42% in 2018.

It also found that with European plastics manufacturers planning to invest €7.2 billion (£6.05 billion) by 2030 in chemical recycling, to complement mechanical recycling, this will lead to a further 3.4 million tonnes of recycled plastics to be made available at this point.

Plastic Europe managing director Virginia Janssens said: “The Circular Economy for Plastics is a valuable report to better understand the dynamics of plastics flows in Europe. We believe it can serve as a solid foundation for intensified dialogue with our stakeholders.

“Our industry recognises that faster systemic change is needed to achieve higher circularity levels, especially when circularity itself is the most effective lever for emission reductions in the short and medium term. We acknowledge the importance of the challenge and are ready to increase the intensity and effectiveness of dialogue and collaboration with policy makers and plastics value chain partners to bring the circularity of plastics to the next level.”

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