PET bottles recycling are far from a true cycle

Views: 55 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: Origin: Site


Research carried out for Zero Waste Europe by sustainability consultancy Eunomia Research & Consulting shows that most PET recovered from bottles in Europe is not remade into new PET bottles, Major improvements in PET design, collection and recycling are needed to improve recycling.


In Europe, the majority of recycled PET recovered from bottles is used in other low-grade PET applications, such as pallets, films, strapping straps or fibres - new bottles put on the market contain an average of only 17% recycled PET, despite a recovery rate of around 50%.

The recycled components of all PET product streams, including single-use plastic pallets, textile fibers, films and strapping straps, come from bottles, as recycling levels for non-bottle PET applications are very low. Of the 1.8 million tons of flakes recovered from bottles, only 31% were made into bottle pellets, with the remaining 69% used in other PET products.


PET bottle recycling varies across Europe, with some countries achieving high recycling rates mainly due to the existence of deposit return systems (DRS), while others have lower recycling rates when only a separate collection system is used.


The current major policy changes in Europe and the commitment of large brands show the ambition to improve the recycling of PET. However, the report shows that higher levels of recovered content can be achieved by implementing enhanced collection systems, such as deposit return systems (DRS); From colored and opaque bottles to transparent ones; Prioritize bottle-to-bottle recycling to prevent downgrading other non-bottled PET applications. In addition to mechanical recycling, chemical depolymerization technologies have the potential to contribute to the overall PET cycle - provided they reach full maturity and their full impact is assessed.

With these changes, the maximum amount of recycled content in bottles could be reached by 61 to 75 per cent by 2030; However, under current market conditions, this could be as low as the minimum policy-driven target of 30%.

Dorota Napierska, Policy Officer for non-toxic Consumption and Production at Zero Waste Europe, said: "This study shows that PET is currently not very recyclable and will remain so in the future unless substantial policy changes are introduced; Technological and economic barriers were removed. We can speculate that if the most recyclable and recycled types of plastic are struggling to meet the challenge of becoming more circular, then other types of plastic may face even greater challenges. Therefore, the most effective way to improve the recyclability of this material is not only through recycling, but also by using it for durable applications rather than single-use applications."


Contact Us



Company Name