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PET bottle collection reaches 51% in Europe

More than half of all PET bottles in Europe were collected for recycling last year, according to a new report.

Figures from recycling trade bodies Petcore and EUPR show that the amount of post-sorting PET collection last year rose 9.4% to 1.59 million tonnes compared to the previous 12 months. Overall growth in collection in Europe is stable at 2%.

Overall the European collection rate of all PET bottles in the market is 51%, according to the Post Consumer PET recycling in Europe 2011 and Prospects to 2016.

All but three countries had a collection rate above 22.5%, the target rate for plastic recovery set by the Packaging Waste Directive. Around a third of countries have collection rates of over 70%.The net amount of PET bales exported to the Far East Fell for the third year running.

The total mechanical reclamation capacity in Europe is estimated at around 1.9 million tonnes, suggesting that PET recyclers have capacity available to absorb a large increase in PET collection.

Petcore chairman Roberto Bertaggia said: “I am delighted that the PET collection rate has broken the 50% barrier in Europe. The extra 140 kilotonnes collected in 2011 represents a further 5.6 billion bottles to be recycled. The PET industry chain has worked with compliance agencies, national bodies and European recyclers to achieve the record collection of nearly 1.6 million tonnes of PET bottles. We pledge to continue to develop and promote PET’s recyclability”.

Chair of the EuPR PET Working Group, Casper van den Dungen, said that capacity utilisation of recycle plants was only 77%.

“This provides the challenge for municipalities, other collectors and industry to increase the current collection rate even further to load the recycling facilities already in place,” he said. “Nevertheless, the new developments in PET collection must not jeopardise the sound, well-establishedand most recycled plastic - the PET bottle”.

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