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German PET recyclers struggling from stagnant collection rates in Europe

By: EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

February 19, 2013

BONN, GERMANY -- PET recyclers in Germany are battling low collection volumes and high energy costs, putting them at a disadvantage with European and international competitors, warns one association based in the country.

The Federal Association for Secondary Raw Materials and Waste Management (BVSE) says the collection rate in Europe for PET bottles stands at around 50 percent by volume. Many PET recycling plants in Germany are running at less than full capacity because they are not receiving enough material to recycle, warns the Bonn-based association.

And even though Germany has an effective deposit system in place, volumes from Germany drain away to other European countries to substitute missing volume there, it adds.

In addition, the German renewable energy law (EEG) is making production costs high compared to non-German competitors.

Herbert Snell, vice president of plastics recycling at BVSE, says both Germany and Europe need the value chain to work better, and he called for an increase in collection volumes and fair competition.

BVSE's warning comes weeks after European Plastics Recyclers (EuPR) trade group made a similar complaint.

Earlier this month, EuPR said the recycling industry across the region is threatened by "persistent structural market failures."

As well as the problem of stagnating bottle collections, recyclers are dealing with intensive lightweighting and complex bottle designs, which push up the cost of recycling, according to EuPR. Such increased costs cannot currently be corrected by further economies of scale, it added.