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Mar 26, 2019 / Richard Hall

PET recycling in Europe

So, how good are we ? Bottle half full ? Or bottle half empty ? Overall, more than half full. But many countries are well behind. Certainly, some progress. But needing to do much better.

The latest annual European survey commissioned by Petcore Europe shows:

• 1.923 million tonnes of PET bottles were collected in 2017, up from 1.881 million tonnes in 2016.

• But the percentage of total PET bottle weight collected appears to have fallen from 59.8% in 2016 to 58.2% in 2017.

• The strongest performers were Germany and Finland at 90-95%.

• The weakest were in the Mediterranean in central eastern Europe at “less than 30-40%”.

The quality of some collected PET has also been brought into question, with PET trays and opaque bottles accounting for up to 25% of bales which should only be clear PET or mixed colour PET.

More positively, the maximum capacity for processing collected PET was 2.038 million tonnes in 2017, meaning that there is significant potential to do better if collection is improved.

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