Europe recycled more than 60 billion PET bottles last year, as recycled PET continues to make inroads into new markets, according to industry association Petcore Europe.
More than 52 percent of all post-consumer PET bottles were collected for recycling (1.68 million metric tons), up from the collection rate of 51 percent the year before.
The increase in collection has helped ease overcapacity issues in the region, and recyclers now have an average plant utilization rate of 80 percent.
Last year, all but two EU member states achieved PET recycling rates above the waste directive target of 22.5 percent for plastics.
The largest end-market for recycled PET was fibers but the sheet and bottle markets are both showing "strong growth," according to the association.