BRUSSELS (Sept. 29, 2:45 p.m. ET) — PlasticsEurope has unveiled the results of the first-ever study on polyolefins recycling and recovery rates in rigid applications in Europe.
The research analyses recycling and recovery figures for France, Germany, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom. It focuses on bottles, other rigid packaging, automotive and appliance and electronic sectors, and reveals that 57 percent of rigid polyolefins were recovered in 2009.
Out of these, 1 million metric tons of waste was recycled and PlasticsEurope insists that this is only a fraction of what can be achieved.
“With an appropriate combination of recycling and energy recovery, 100 percent diversion of polyolefins from landfill is possible. Equally, I believe that supportive regulatory frameworks and improvements in identification and sorting techniques can certainly help the value chain to achieve this important objective,” said Jan-Erik Johansson, program director for resource efficiency at PlasticsEurope.
The study shows that national recycling performances differ widely from one country to another; reaching for instance 32 percent in Germany and less than 10 percent in Poland. “A great potential exists to increase eco-efficient recycling of polyolefins in many European countries, and successful knowledge transfer within Europe holds the key,” Johansson noted.
The study, carried out by market research consultancy Consultic, is an important step for the industry as it demonstrates that polyolefin articles are indeed recyclable and should be actively included in suitable collection schemes.
According to PlasticsEurope, key factors to achieve high recycling and recovery rates include restrictions on landfill, the development of broader collection schemes for non-bottle rigid packaging and optimized sorting systems, coupled with efficient energy recovery capacities to complement quality recycling.
Polyolefins (PP, HDPE, LDPE and LLDPE) account for 48 percent of Western Europe's annual consumption of plastics.