European groups encourage 100 percent recovery of packaging

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BRUSSELS (Dec. 1, 1 p.m. ET) — Continuing growth in the European recycling rate for plastics packaging could result in 100 percent diversion from landfill by 2020.

This ambition was announced by pan-European trade body PlasticsEurope earlier this year and is given support by 2010 region-wide figures released by the European Association of Plastics Recycling and Recovery Organizations (EPRO).

The 27 members of the EU, plus Switzerland and Norway, recycled 5.018m metric tons or 32.6 percent of all its plastic packaging in 2010. In 2009, 4.6 million metric tons (30.3 percent) was recycled.

Energy recovery from waste plastics packaging was 33.3 percent, giving a total recycling and recovery rate of 65.9 percent (up from 60.7 percent in 2009). With one-third of plastics packaging still going to landfill, “we still have a job to do”, said EPRO.

It said in a statement: “A recovery rate of 100 percent in 2020 for both plastic packaging and all other plastic waste is still possible; it is all about willingness and working together across the plastics supply chain to set the scene and move the agenda forward.”

“A strategy of 100 percent recovery of plastic waste might also contribute to an economic recovery of Europe and thus more jobs.”

In EPRO’s report, which it has produced in partnership between PlasticsEurope, EuPC and EuPR, the following 16 nations recycled more than 30 percent of its plastic packaging waste in 2010: Sweden, (46.5 percent), Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Belgium, Austria, Norway, Netherlands, Slovakia, Switzerland, Italy, Latvia, Slovenia, Poland, UK and Lithuania.

At the other end of the list, countries recycling less than 22.5 percent of their post-consumer plastic packaging were: Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, Greece and Malta (14.5 percent).

The following countries increased their recycling ratios the most during 2010: Norway, Greece, Romania, UK, Sweden and Ireland. Austria and Germany and Switzerland showed decreased recycling ratios.