A recent evaluation of PET recycling facilities across Europe has found that there is a gap of 200,000 tonnes between available PET recycling capacity and what is actually being used.
The study, which was carried out by Plastics Recyclers Europe (PRE), discovered that 1.9m tonnes of PET plastic waste was transformed into 1.4m tonnes of recyclates, which were used in the production of new articles.
While the results show that the PET recycling capacity in Europe was 2.1m tonnes in 2017, only 1.9 million tonnes of this capacity was being exploited.
PRE vice president and PET Working Group chairman Casper van den Dungen said: “Given the unused installed capacities there is much room for growth in the European PET recycling market, but in order to achieve the higher recycling rates the rate of collection must be improved and quality of waste increased.”
An average of 57% of PET bottles are recycled in Europe, and if we are to reach the 75% recycling rate by 2030, the plastics industry must collaborate and implement necessary measures, said PRE.
Casper van den Dungen added: “There is a strong will from PET recyclers to increase the output of recycled material, but currently we are struggling to find enough good quality input waste.
“Limited collection has always been a drawback for PET recyclers. Trust shall be built in the sector in order to secure investments as well as the absorption of these new volumes of recyclates on the market.”